Skip to main content

Full text of "Belief in Christ"

See other formats







(Reconstruction of Belief /). 

(Bampton Lectures for 1891). 





Edited by 
LUX MUNDI. A series of Studies in the Religiou 

of the Incarnation. By Various Writers. 














Printed in Great Britain by 
Hcudl, Watson & Viney, Ld. t London and Aylesbury. 


1. THIS volume is, again, an appeal to men to think 
for themselves, and to think freely. It does not 
concern itself with any question of orthodoxy, that 
is of ecclesiastical authority. Such questions are 
deferred to the next volume, which will concern the 
Church, where they will be wholly in place. But 
in this volume they are quite omitted. 

It is not that I am under the illusion that my 
ow r n beliefs, or those of other men, orthodox or 
unorthodox, with very few exceptions, have been 
actually reached purely or mainly by an argumenta- 
tive process. They have been the result of a complex 
of movements within the soul, and of influences from 
without it, which are largely emotional, moral and 
social, and not in the narrower sense intellectual. 
But if the resultant belief or theory is to be described 
as rational, that must mean that it can account for 
the relevant experience in its widest sense, and the 
facts of nature and history, better than any other 
theory ; and the best way to test the ability of any 
theory to do this is not mainly by attacking other 
theories, but by approaching the facts constructively 
and critically and seeing what theory appears to 
emerge out of their free consideration. 

Accordingly this volume is an attempt to take a 
critical estimate of all the evidence which concerns 
the person of Christ, and to show that the belief 
about Him which really grows out of the evidence, 
taken all together, and which best accounts for all 



the facts, is just the traditional belief in the incarna- 
tion of the eternal Son of God. I seem to see the 
intellectuals of my generation, and of the generations 
below me, as, for the most part, the victims of a 
delusion. What is called " free thought " is really 
thought enslaved to a negative dogma, which is not 
really valid ; viz. that the sort of redemptive action 
of a personal God, which the Bible professes to record, 
cannot really have occurred. If the inhibition of 
this negative dogma is removed if the enquirer is 
again really open-minded then I believe that free 
enquiry will be found to establish what is substan- 
tially the traditional belief. That is the thesis of 
this volume. And, as I say, it is a challenge to 
men to think for themselves. 

2. The argument of this volume does not begin at 
the beginning. It presupposes the conclusion of the 
first volume on Belief in God. Every year of my 
life makes me more firmly convinced that all the 
questions which concern the person of Christ are 
really secondary to the question whether the teaching 
about God, which was the message of the Hebrew 
prophets and of Jesus Christ and His apostles, is 
true whether it rests upon a real self-disclosure of 
God to men. I have not of course in this volume 
repeated the arguments which convince me that so 
it is. They constitute the substance of my first 
volume. But I should like to call the attention of 
my readers to the admirable article on " Theism " 
by Dr. A. E. Taylor in Hastings' Encyclopaedia 
oj Religion and Ethics, and particularly to its con- 
clusion. " In the present generation, 5 ' he says, 
" the issues seem to be clearing. Philosophers are 
certainly tending, though not without exception, to 
range themselves in two camps. Those to whom 
the business of philosophy seems to consist mainly, 
if not exclusively, in providing a logical basis and a 


methodology for exact science appear to be identify- 
ing themselves with the doctrine of logical pluralism 
and taking up a definitely atheistic attitude which 
involves the denial of the objectivity of judgments 
of value ; those on the other hand who are con- 
vinced that the business of philosophy is to make 
life, as well as science, intelligible, and consequently 
find themselves obliged to maintain the validity of 
those categories of worth apart from which life would 
have no significance, are, in the main, declared 
Theists." This is, I believe, true. But I would add 
that philosophy, though it can, working by itself, 
substantiate Theism, cannot substantiate the equi- 
valent of the Biblical idea of God without the 
postulate of a positive self -revelation of God. Nor 
can it show the idea of a self-revealing God to be 
untenable. And that God has in fact so revealed 
Himself, especially through the prophets of Israel and 
Jesus Christ, seems to me to be established by the 
most cogent reasons. Also the conviction that God 
had so done is so manifestly the ground on which 
Jesus stood, and on which His Church has always 
stood, that I find it very difficult to understand how 
any of those who reject this foundation, and depre- 
cate the very idea of a positive revelation, can 
suppose that the fabric of Christianity would remain 

It is quite true that there were elements in Baby- 
lonian, Persian and Greek thought which the Jews 
had assimilated before our Lord's time, and that 
they were the richer for the assimilation. And it is 
true also that Christianity, which is the flower of 
Judaism, assimilated more from Hellenism than the 
Jews had previously done ; and that it must learn 
in like manner to assimilate important elements from 
Indian and Chinese and Japanese thought and art 
and religion. But this was done of old, and must 


still be done, so as to leave as the main constructive 
element in the fabric the specific belief in God which 
came from Israel. On this Christianity was built and 
must stand. This is the assumption of this volume 
which I did my best to prove in its predecessor. 

But if I live long enough to accomplish my design 
I should wish to come back upon the argument of 
the first volume and consider at length some of the 
criticisms made upon it. 

I have done my best to make the argument in this 
volume intelligible to those of my readers who are 
not used to books of biblical criticism, by putting 
into footnotes and appended notes, which they can 
omit, some of the more detailed critical enquiries. 

Perhaps I ought to apologize for the frequency 
with which, at certain points in this book, I have 
referred to other writings of mine. But where I had 
nothing new to say of much importance, it seemed 
better to refer to what I had written elsewhere than 
to increase the bulk of this book by repeating it. 

C. G. 

St. Luke's Day, 1922. 








ST. PAUL .... .70 



TESTAMENT ...... 106 





TRUE ? . 162 







TRINITY ...... 231 


SIN AND THE FALL ..... 25$ 


THE ATONEMENT . . . . . .280 







TWICE in the Gospels Jesus is represented as asking 
a question bearing upon His own person. The first 
occasion was at the opening of what we may call 
the second stage of His mission, when an intense 
opposition centring in the religious leaders of Israel, 
the scribes and Pharisees, had declared itself openly 
in Galilee, and the faith of His first eager disciples 
was beginning to be deeply tested. 1 Then it was 
that, away from the centres of the life of Israel, 
almost as a fugitive, in the neighbourhood of a city 
beyond the Jordan, whose very name Caesarea 
Philippi would strike upon Jewish ears as repul- 
sively alien, He pressed upon His disciples the direct 
question : " Who do ye say that I am ? " He had 
asked them first what people in general were saying 
about Him, and that question was easily answered. 
It was generally believed that He was someone 
extraordinary, of prophetic character and divine 
commission. 2 But more than such vague answers is 

1 Mark iii 6, 22, vii 1-13, viii 11, 15. The great question is 
recorded in viii 27 ff. 

8 What exactly was meant by saying He was John the Baptist, 
or Elijah, or one of the prophets is not easy to define. It must be 
remembered that the Messianic king, the remote descendant of 
David, is, as in Jer. xxx 9, Ezek. xxxiv 24, Is. Iv 4, called simply 
David ; in like manner a successor of John the Baptist or of Elijah 
might be called simply by his name. People might say Here we 
have John the Baptist, or Here we have Elijah, over again. 



expected of the disciples. The question is again 
pressed home : " Who do ye say that I am ? " 
And Peter commits himself to the great confession : 
" Thou art the Christ." 

Once again on the eve of the Passion Jesus is 
represented as asking not the disciples, but the 
Pharisees l " What think ye of the Christ ? Whose 
son is He ? " It was a question not directly about 
His own person, but about their idea of " Him who 
was to come." But in the minds of the disciples, 
who believed Him to be the Christ, it must have 
sounded as a question about Himself. And both 
these questions asked by our Lord imply that His 
person presented a problem which must be raised 
and solved. And it is characteristic of our Lord's 
generally undogmatic method as a teacher that He 
insists that the answer should be found as a judgment 
of men's own minds under the teaching of God, 
rather than by any explicit pronouncement from His 
own lips. 

As we know in history, the answer of the first 
disciples, who became the Church of Jesus Christ, 
was given gradually or in stages. First it was that 
Jesus is the Christ. Then that Jesus is Lord. 
Finally that Jesus, the Christ, is the pre-existent 
Son of God, Himself very God, who for us men 
and for our salvation was made flesh. This final 
answer was formulated in Creeds and protected by 
dogmatic decisions, and became the central point 
of the Christian faith. 

To-day when the questions of our Lord are quoted 
-" W r ho do ye say that I am ? ' " \Vhat think 
ye of Christ ? " what is generally intended is to 
ask whether the familiar doctrine of the Church 

1 As represented in Matt, xxii 41. In Mark xii 35 the ques- 
tion is asked of the people, in view of the teaching of the scribes, 
" How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David ? " So in 
Luke xx 41. I have retained the more familiar form of the question 
as the difference is irrelevant. 


concerning the person of Jesus gives the true answer 
to these questions. In our day it is widely questioned 
and sometimes scornfully repudiated ; or it is sug- 
gested that the precise answer to be given to these 
questions does not seriously matter, if only we are 
agreed in following the example of the life of Jesus. 
But the world cannot settle down to regard Jesus 
as nothing more than the best of men or the greatest 
of spiritual teachers. Most men feel that there is 
something mysterious and unique about His person. 
Nor does it seem possible to leave the great question 
unanswered. It obtrudes itself upon us and demands 
an answer. And if we cannot be content to receive 
passively the dogmatic teaching of the Church, but 
feel the necessity of opening afresh the question 
for ourselves, certainly it is not our Lord who will 
condemn us. He certainly would have men think 
for themselves, and reach a personal conviction 
which they can feel to be wrought into their souls 
by God's own Spirit. 

The purpose of this volume, then, is to make the 
enquiry about Christ's person afresh, with a mind 
as open as possible to all sources of evidence, and 
with a resolute determination to go " whither the 
argument leads." But I shall take for granted the 
conclusions reached in the volume which preceded 
this on Belief in God. That is to say that I shall 
take for granted not only that there is a God in some 
sense, but that He has really disclosed Himself to men, 
especially in a historical process through the prophets 
of Israel and through Jesus of Nazareth, who, what- 
ever else He was, was " a prophet mighty in word 
and in deed " in the succession of the prophets of 
Israel. Thus the God in whom we start by believing 
is indeed the one supreme Spirit who is present and 
active everywhere in the world, but He is also 
beyond the world and above it, subsisting in the 
fulness of personal consciousness and will before 


the world was: awful in holiness and perfect in good- 
ness, power, and wisdom : the absolute Creator of 
all that is, and the Father and Judge of all rational 
spirits. For the justification of this faith I must 
refer back to the reasonings of my first volume. 
When I say that it will here be taken for granted, 
I mean that anyone who is to read this volume 
sympathetically and judge of it fairly, must be pre- 
pared at least to accept it as a provisional hypothesis 
with the consequences which the preceding volume 
indicated. He must not have his mind closed by 
a dogmatic prejudice against that kind of redemp- 
tive action of a personal God to which the Bible 
witnesses, or against such special acts of God as we 
call miraculous. He must be prepared to follow along 
the lines of the growth of the apostolic faith and to 
seek with an open mind to appreciate its grounds. 

In standing upon this platform to start with, we 
have this advantage, that we start where the first 
disciples we may say with all reverence where 
Jesus Himself started. For the Gospels make it 
quite evident that Jesus took for granted the God 
of Israel and the religion of Israel, 1 even while He 
deepened the thought of God and emancipated the 
religion from its Pharisaic fetters. Professor Bethune 
Baker has recently said " I know almost nothing 
about God's character apart from Jesus." 2 This is 
a not unfamiliar position, but it is to me amazing. 
Something surely of an important kind about the 
character of God had become apparent to deep- 
thinking men, like Zoroaster and Aeschylus and 
Plato, all the world over, and Dr. Bethune Baker 
is surely the last man to wish to ignore these verdicts 
of the natural conscience. We owe a great debt of 
gratitude to Baron Friedrich von Hugel, who is 
always bidding us keep in mind that it was not 

1 See Belief in God, pp. 94-5. 

a The Modern Churchman, Sept, 1921, p. 301. 


only along the line of Israel that mankind had gained 
real knowledge of God. But what is from our 
present point of view much more important is that 
^ the Jesus of history " would assuredly have utterly 
repudiated the supposition that He was to teach 
men their first serious lessons about God's character. 
He certainly assumed that His hearers knew a great 
deal about 'it all, in fact, that the prophets had 
told men, for whom the character of God was the 
main theme of their mission. 

1 will counter Dr. Bethune Baker's statement with 
another, 1 which, if somewhat exaggerated in the 
other direction, is far nearer the truth than his : 
44 In what way did the teaching of Jesus differ from 
that of His contemporaries ? Not and the nature 
of much modern writing renders it desirable to em- 
phasize the negative not by teaching anything 
about God essentially new to Jewish ears. The God 
of Jesus is the God of the Jews, about whom He 
says nothing which cannot be paralleled in Jewish 
literature." I think this is an exaggeration. The 
teaching of Jesus about the character of God, as 
the Father of each individual soul whose love goes 
out to seek and save the lost the God in whose 
eyes each individual soul is of identical and absolute 
value the Father represented in the Parable of 
the Prodigal Son is surely fresh teaching. Certainly 
our Lord set the character of God in a quite new light 
in manifold ways. Certainly also His teaching was no 
borrowed or merely traditional teaching. He said 4 ' No 
man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to 
whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him." But the 
God and Father of whom He constantly spoke was 
the Jehovah of the Jewish prophets and Psalmists. 2 

1 From Drs. Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, The Beginnings 
of Christianity (Macmillan, 1920), vol. i. p. 288. 

2 The only word ascribed to our Lord which appears at first sight 
to be a repudiation of His Jewish forerunners is John x 8 : " All 



There was, in fact, no wavering in the early Church 
as to the continuity and identity of their faith with 
the old Jewish faith about God. When St. Paul 
quotes "the Scriptures," though it be a predominantly 
Gentile Church to which he is writing, he means 
the books of the Hebrew canon. When he says 
" Whatsoever things were written beforehand were 
written for our learning, that through patience and 
comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope," or 
that " every Scripture, inspired of God, is also 
profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, 
for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God 
may be complete, furnished completely unto every 
good work," 1 it is the Hebrew scriptures exclusively 
that he is thinking of. Indeed, both in St. Paul's and 
St. Peter's Epistles and in St. James and in the Acts 
and in the Epistle to the Hebrews the constant 
assumption is that the Christian Church was the old 
Jewish Church, the Church of the prophets, reformed 
and reinspired. This alone accounts for the fact that 
the earliest Church put in the foremost place among 
its appeals the argument from prophecy. 

Thus it came about that the Bible of the Jews 
became the Bible of the Christian Church before the 
New Testament books were written. It is indeed 
astonishing how wholeheartedly the Gentile world, 

that came before me are thieves and robbers : but the sheep did 
not hear them." But to interpret this single word as a repudiation 
of Moses and the prophets and John the Baptist would be in glaring 
contradiction to the Gospels generally and to the Fourth Gospel 
in particular. See i 7-8, 17, 31, 45, ii 16, iii 10, iv 22, 
v 46-7, vii 22-3, viii 56, xii 14-16, 39-41, xix 28, 36, 37. 
The mind of the writer of the Gospel is such that he could not have 
ascribed to our Lord any repudiation of the ancient prophets. 
To interpret this startling saying we must refer back to Jer. xxiii 
1-4, and Ezek. xxxiv 1-16, concerning the shepherds (rulers) 
of Israel who maltreat and neglect the flock, with whom our Lord 
associates the present rulers of Israel, the Pharisees and Sadducees 
who are set to harass and persecute His disciples, the sheep who hear 
His voice. 

1 Rom. xv 4, 2 Tim. iii 16-17. 


which came very speedily to constitute the vast 
majority of the Christian society, accepted the Old 
Testament. There were, no doubt, rebels against 
such acceptance in the second century, of whom 
the famous heresiarch Marcion was the most im- 
portant. He would have discarded the Old Testa- 
ment and all that belonged to it as the work not of 
the Supreme Being, but of another lower God, the 
creator (demiurge) of the material world. He would 
have had the Church preach a Jesus who revealed a 
supreme and hitherto unknown God, and a Jesus who 
had not even a real body of material flesh, such as 
must have been a creation of the dishonoured 
demiurge of the Old Testament. There are moderns, 
amongst whom is Dr. Harnack, 1 who have very deep 
sympathy with Marcion, at least in his attempt to 
discard the Old Testament out of the Canon. But 
the Church teachers would have nothing to do with 
his revolutionary proposal. They clung to the Old 
Testament. They saw clearly enough that to reject 
the Old Testament would be to reject the Jesus of 
history who stood without hesitation upon that 

This is all the more noticeable because some at 
least of the teachers of the early Church did not, 
like those of the mediaeval Church or the Churches 
of the Reformation, rate the Old Testament too high. 
These Fathers acknowledged frankly that its in- 
stitutions of worship were of heathen origin and its 
morals to start with on a barbaric level. 2 But 
they were full of the principle of God's gradual 
working in the education of mankind. He justifies 
Himself, they said, by the results. Only by a large 
toleration of what was unworthy in a half -barbarous 

1 See Harnack, Das Evangelium vom fremden Gott (Leipzig, 
1921), pp. 248 ff. See also an interesting review of the book by 
Lowther Clark in Theology, vol. iii. no. 17. 

2 Cf. Lux Mundi, pp. 240-2 and Pref. p. xxii. 


group of tribes, only by a divine patience and 
gradualness, could He have educated them up to 
the level of the teaching first of the prophets 
and then of Jesus. Even St. Augustine, who is 
in a measure responsible for the over-estimate of 
the Old Testament, says that we wrong the New 
Testament if we put the Old on a level with it. 1 
Nevertheless all the Fathers saw that the religion 
of Jesus Christ is the outcome of a historical process, 
and its roots are fixed in Israel. The Old Testament 
and the New cohere inseparably. St. Paul is quite 
right in saying that as an apostle of Jesus Christ 
there has been no change in the object of his worship. 
It is still " the God of our fathers " whom he serves 
with a pure conscience, 2 and the whole Christian 
Church, though in the main Gentile in origin, in be- 
lieving in Jesus, knew they were accepting as the true 
God the God of Abraham, Moses, and the prophets. 

It was the conviction that the self-revelation of 
God given through the Hebrew prophets was true and 
real that made the Christian Church, when it went 
out into the world of the Roman empire, intensely 
and deliberately combative not merely for some belief 
in God, but for the specific belief inherited from Israel 
and consummated in Christ. 3 And this had two very 
important results first, that it made impossible for 
the teachers of the Christian Church the " deifica- 
tion " of their Master. 


As we have seen, the question for the Christian 
Church became very soon Is this Jesus, who is 
clearly divine in some sense, really God ? And that 
is the question which interests us to-day. And the 
answer we give depends for its meaning on what we 

1 Aug. de Ocst. Pelag. 15. 

2 Acts xxii 14, xxiv 14 ; 2 Tim. i 3. 

3 See Belief in God, pp. 108 f., 129 ff., 150 ff. 


understand by God. The world into which the 
Church went out used the term God in a very loose 
and comprehensive sense. There were Gods many. 
The heavenly bodies were unanimously believed 
to be Gods, and very formidable Gods too, for 
they dominated the world, like remorseless fates. 1 
Further, there were deified men in abundance 
such as the old hero Heracles, or ancient founders, 
like Romulus, or the recent founders of the Empire, 
Julius and Augustus, or philosophers who had 
brought men the truth. Even the Epicureans 
regularly called their founder Epicurus a God. And 
the philosophers who believed in a sense in the unity 
of God found no difficulty in this wide use of the 
term God. For to them, according to the current 
Stoicism, God was reason, and reason was God the 
reason in all things and the reason in men. Men, 
therefore, were portions of God in respect of their 
reason. God and man were of one substance. The 
more rational a person was the more he became god. 2 
There is a curious passage quoted by Origen from 
some contemporary writer on the Stoic use of w r ords 
who defines a ic god " in its most general sense as 
44 an immortal, rational being ; in which sense every 
rational soul is a god." Others, he says, add to 
the definition that a god must be pure spirit, in 
which case human souls will only become gods when 
their souls leave their bodies. Others only make 
the requirement of moral goodness. 44 So that every 
seemly soul is already a god,"' even while it is still 

1 See Edwyn Bevan, Hellenism and Christianity (George Allen 
& Unwin, 1921), p. 78 : " It was from Babylon that the fear of 
the stars and especially of the seven [the Sun and Moon and the 
Five Planets] had spread through the Roman Empire. It became 
an obsession. This earth, the sphere of their tyranny, took on a 
sinister and dreadful aspect." 

2 See Bevan, Stoics and Scept'^s, p. 41. The Stoic poet Manilius 
is quoted as saying " Quis possit ... Et reperire deum, nisi 
qui pars ipse deorum est ? " Cf. Arnou, Le desir de Dieu dans la 
philosophic de Plotin (Paris, 1921), p. 145, note 4. 


in the body. Others confine the term god to beings 
" who have some control in the world in respect of 
its administration, like the sun and the moon. In 
a different sense the word is applied to the supreme 
administrator. And above all they call god the being 
immortal and uncreated, the supreme king, which 
is the universe." l The great philosopher Plotinus 
in the third century insisted that the root and source 
of all things is in unity in the One. But this did 
not hinder him from recognizing gods in the sun 
and the stars and the gods of popular tradition. 
With him also the term God " n'est pas du tout un 
terme reserve," 2 and this because reason and God 
are the same thing. And thus, because godhead 
was comparatively a vulgar thing, Plotinus very 
seldom calls his Supreme Being, the One, by the 
name God. Rather, as he is above reason, so he 
is something above God. 

Obviously from this the Hellenic point of view, 
it would have been easy and inevitable to deify 
Jesus or to call Him a god. How should one 
so excellent in power and goodness not be a god ? 
I shall have occasion shortly to discuss the position 
of the German, Wilhelm Bousset, and his school, 
who contend that in the early Hellenistic churches 
it was in fact this pagan spirit which came to be 
dominant and led to the conception of Jesus as God. 

1 This passage is in the Prologue to Origen on the Psalms ; see 
Lommatzsch, torn. xi. 351 ; cf. Harnack, Hist, of Dogma (Engl. 
trans.), vol. i. p. 119 n., and Inge, Christian Mysticism, App. III. 
There is no doubt that this Hellenic use of the term God in a very 
wide sense affected some Christian writers, as, e.g., when Clement 
of Alexandria speaks of the soul of man by a true knowledge 
and righteousness "practising to be god" (^eAerot flvai 8fos, 
Strom, vi. chap. xiv. sect. 113); and Greek Fathers sometimes 
speak of Christians, in Christ, " being made god " (QeoTroifTiffQai}. 
Such language is derived from the common Hellenic use, but it is 
not properly Christian. On the whole matter of Hellenic beliefs, 
Jules Lebreton's Les Origines du Dogme de la Triniti (Paris, 1919), 
chap, i., may be very profitably consulted. 

* Arnou, op. cit. pp. 108, 124 f. 


But, even according to this school of critics, this 
supposed assimilation of the beliefs and worship of 
the Church to the model of the religions about them 
was not possible on the soil of Palestine or in the 
first Jewish circles of the Church. For these first 
disciples the idea of a man being raised to divine 
honours was something impossible to entertain. No 
doubt the religion of Israel had grown upon the 
common soil of Semitic religions, and the terminology 
of polytheism slightly taints the Old Testament at 
its earliest levels. 1 But this taint had long cen- 
turies ago been scrupulously purged away. Only 
One could be called God or worshipped by any Jew, 
He whom St. Paul in true Jewish spirit calls " the 
blessed and only potentate, the King of kings and 
Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling 
in the light unapproachable, whom no man hath 
seen nor can see." 2 Greeks might identify God and 
man, but to an Israelite there was no distinction 
so deep and impassable as the distinction of the 
Creator from all His creatures, even the highest. 

Nor was it at all within the compass of the con- 
temporary Jewish imagination that God should mani- 
fest Himself in human form. Doubtless there had 
been in old days theophanies. God, they read in 
the Scriptures, had manifested Himself, as it ap- 
peared, even in human form to men. But these 
were momentary epiphanies ; they had long ceased ; 
and the later theology had explained them away. 
There was no tendency of thought among the Jews 
of the time after the Captivity such as would have 
led naturally towards an idea of incarnation. 


The dominant thought of the Greek world, when 
Christianity came into it, was pantheistic and 
1 See appended note A, p. 28. 2 1 Tim. vi 15-16. 


polytheistic, but earlier, as in Aristotle, and later, 
as in Plotinus, there was a philosophical monotheism 
which believed in the existence of one God absolutely 
separated from mundane and human affairs, who 
could take no interest in man, and could influence 
the world only as an object of desire or intellectual 
contemplation. Now the religion of the Jews was 
a monotheism, but totally different from this religion 
of the philosophers. The one God of the Hebrews, 
Jehovah, was thought of as intensely concerned in 
the world and in mankind, as constantly active both 
in nature and in man. And He had made man in 
His own image and likeness, so that the activities 
and emotions of the human mind had their source 
and counterpart in Him. 

That admirable Anglican mystic of the seventeenth 
century, Thomas Trcherne, vividly contrasts the 
heathen deities who " wanted nothing " with " the 
Lord God of Israel, the living and true God," who 
44 from all eternity wanted like a God. He wanted 
the communication of the divine essence, and persons 
to enjoy it. He wanted worlds, He wanted spec- 
tators, He wanted joys, He wanted treasures." l 
It was because of this divine " want " of an en- 
larging fellowship in the divine life and activity that 
He had created rational spirits and had appointed 
men as His vicegerents in the world to " have dominion 
over the works of His hands." 2 But on the widest 
scale God had been disappointed in man. Rebellion 
on his part had baffled God's purpose. Nevertheless, 
God had not abandoned His good mind towards man, 
but had proceeded to carry it out by a method of 

Again and again God is represented as choosing, 
and making covenant with, some selected group to 
be the agents of His universal purpose. So it was 

1 See T. Treherne, Centuries of Meditations (Dobell, 1908), p. 29. 
* Gen. i 28, Ps. viii 5-8. 


with the family of Noah, with Abraham, with Isaac, 
with Israel under Moses, with the remnant of Israel 
who returned, purged and faithful, from the Cap- 
tivity. And all this selective method of God, choosing 
a small group out of the whole of mankind to be His 
instruments, for all its apparent narrowness, had 
always a universal purpose, as is declared in the call 
of Abraham : "In thy seed shall all the families of 
the earth be blessed." This is where Israel stands 
distinctive among the nations of the earth 1 in 
their intense belief in an energetic divine purpose, 
of which only their own nation is the selected 
instrument, but which through their nation is to 
become the heritage of all the world, and which at 
the last, in spite of all the wilfulness of man, is 
certainly to take full effect. Because God is God, 
at the last shall be the Day of the Lord, when God 
shall come into His own in the whole creation. 
Thus it is that Israel was the parent of what the 
Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce proclaims to be 
the only true history, the history which is also 
philosophy, which sees the past as alive in the 
present and pressing on towards a goal and con- 
summation in the future. 2 

The Greeks and Romans never discarded their old 
legend of a Golden Age in some remote past followed 
by a gradual decline age after age, so that they are 
almost totally without the sense of a progressive 
purpose in the world ; and if their imagination 
wanders beyond the present world-order they con- 
ceive, more after the manner of the Easterns, of 
innumerable cycles of time, each characterized by 
gradual deterioration and ending in final catastrophe, 
without any divine purpose running through the ages 

1 See, however, Note B at the end of this chapter on the idea of 
divine purpose in the teaching of Zoroaster. 

8 See Benedetto Croce, Teoria e storia delto storiographia (Bari, 
1917), pp. 186-92 ; and see Belief in God, p. 132, note 1. 


as a whole and moving on to its consummation. 1 
Of this conception of divine purpose running through 
all things and destined to final effectiveness in spite 
of all failures and catastrophes by the way for 
which the rebellion of free spirits is responsible 
a divine purpose with which it is man's highest 
joy to co-operate of this infinitely fruitful belief in 
a divine purpose of progress the religion of Israel is 
the effective source. 


This expectation of a kingdom of God 2 to come 
is as fully important an element in the Jewish back- 
ground of Jesus as the belief in the one only God, 
the righteous Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. 
And it is necessary for us to get as clear a picture 
in our minds as possible of the great expectation, 
as it had been formed in earlier days, and as it was 
held at the time of our Lord's birth, education, and 
ministry. Let us dwell first on some central and 
classical expression of the hope from early times. 

Here is one which is common to Isaiah and Micah 3 : 

" And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the 
mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in 

1 See Bevan, Hellenism and Christianity, pp. 180ff. : "In 
some form or other this idea, that the present is vastly inferior 
to an ideal past, seems to have been general in classical antiquity. 
In the philosophic schools naturally an attempt was made to get 
a more far-reaching view of the universe, and here the notion was 
elaborated of the process of things being a cyclic movement, in 
which history repeated itself over and over again without any end." 
..." Decline within each period and the periods endlessly repeat- 
ing themselves in an unvarying round." The whole chapter should 
be read. 

2 The actual phrase " the kingdom of God " or " the kingdom of 
heaven," as something to be established in the future, does not 
appear to occur earlier than the Gospels (see Foakes Jackson and 
Lake's Beginnings of Christianity, vol. i. pp. 269-70). But the idea 
is constant in the prophets and the phrase also, or something like 
it, in the sense of the divine sovereignty, e.g. Ps. cxlv 12-13. 

3 Is. ii 2-4, Micah iv 1-3. 


the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above 
the hills ; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many 
peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to 
the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of 
Jacob ; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will 
walk in his paths ; for out of Zion shall go forth the 
law (or ' instruction '), and the word of the Lord from 
Jerusalem. And he shall judge between the nations, 
and shall reprove many peoples ; and they shall beat 
their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into 
pruning-hooks : nation shall not lift up sword against 
nation, neither shall they learn war any more." 

This great vision, and many like it, will be found to 
involve certain distinguishable elements. 

(1) The idea of the spiritual sovereignty and uni- 
versality of the religion of Israel so that all nations 
must seek the word of the Lord from Israel as its com- 
missioned dispenser. This idea finds vivid expression 
again and again in passages which are amongst the 
loftiest in the Old Testament, as when Isaiah sees 
Egypt and Assyria linked with one another in one re- 
ligion through Israel as its medium 1 ; or the Second 
Isaiah sees faithful Israel, now purified, reinstated, 
and reunited, set "for a covenant of the people, 
for a light of the Gentiles " 2 ; or Zechariah sees 
" ten men, out of all the languages of the nations, 
taking hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, 
We will go with you, for we have heard that God is 
with you " 3 ; or Malachi discerns a catholic church 
as already in being " from the rising of the sun 
even unto the going down of the same my name 
great among the heathen ; and in every place incense 
offered unto my name, and a pure offering " 4 ; or 
a late prophet sees Jerusalem as the scene of a 
divine banquet for all nations " of fat things full 
of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined," and of 

1 Is. xix 23-5. 2 Ig. xiij 6. 

3 Zech. viii 23. * Malachi i 11. 


a radiant life of knowledge, immortality and joy l ; 
or finally where the Psalmist sees the men of all 
nations calling Zion their mother. 2 It is a fall 
from this high level when the final vindication 
of Israel appears as merely their victory over the 

(2) But, secondly, this glorious vision is only 
possible if all the horrible tyrannies, the monstrous 
fabrics of pride, insolence, cruelty and lust, which 
vex the groaning earth, have been crushed and 
annihilated, either by the manifest hand of God 
working through whatever external agency He may 
choose, or by the strengthening of Israel and its 
king. Thus a great part of the writings of the 
prophets is occupied with the " dooms " upon 
Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, and the rest. But 
so corrupt and false to its trust is Israel itself, 
God's chosen instrument, that it too must fall under 
scathing judgment, only never, like the other world 
powers, 3 to the point of its utter destruction. Israel 
suffers only thereby to be purged, and, though it 
be but as a faithful remnant, to pursue its course. 
People sometimes ask what element of inspiration 
there is in the Book of Esther, and why it is in the 
Canon. I should be disposed to answer that nowhere 
is the sense of the indestructibility of Israel, even 
under circumstances of extremest peril, coupled with 
the responsibility of all individual Israelites for the 
maintenance of their faith and loyalty, expressed 
more vividly than in the words of Mordecai to Esther, 
the Jewish wife of a Persian king " Think not with 
thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, 
more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether 

1 Is. xxv 6-8. 

* Ps. Ixxxvii 5. So the Greek Bible rendered it : " Zion is our 

3 Only in Jeremiah is the idea of a restoration appended also 
to the dooms upon the nations, or some of them : see Jer. xlvi 26, 
xlviii 47, xlix 6, 39. But see also xxx 11. 


boldest thy peace at this time, then shall relief and 
deliverance arise to the Jews from another place ; 
but thou and thy father's house shall perish ; and who 
knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom 
for such a time as this ? " * 

(3) In the prophecies which secured the strongest 
hold on the imagination of the people, the divine 
instrument of the sovereignty of Israel is to be 
an anointed king of the house of David, " the 
Christ " (anointed one) as he alone came in later 
days to be called. This became the national hope 
the raising up by the hand of God of the righteous 
king of David's line, who is to administer the divine 
righteousness on earth with a resistless power and 
finally in perfect peace to whom God stands so 
close that he is to be called His Son 2 and to bear 
His name upon him, " Immanuel, God with us," 
" Mighty God, Everlasting Father." 3 

The prophets generally see the glorious Messianic 
day looming in the immediate future just behind their 
present troubles and sufferings, 4 just as they see the 
purging judgment over the whole world behind each 
particular judgment on each nation which sets itself in 
turn against God and His people. 5 These immediate 
expectations are never realized. Nevertheless, their 
failure does not destroy the confident expectation. 
As God is God, so at last it must be. Even when the 

1 Esther iv 13-14 S 2 Ps. ii 7 and (?) 12, Ixxxix 26-7. 

8 Is. vii 14, ix 6. The Jews seem never to have interpreted 
these names as meaning that the King was himself to be God. 
It was the name of God that was to be upon him ; cf. Micah v 4. 
We must always distinguish the original sense of the prophecies 
from that which the Christian teachers saw in them. But it is, of 
course, quite credible that the sense later assigned to them may 
have lain in the intention of the inspiring Spirit. In some cases 
I should find it difficult to doubt this. 

4 See especially Is. vii 10-17 and Micah v 5 ; cf. the expectation 
concerning Zerubbabel in Haggai, and the expectation of Jewish 
sovereignty in Daniel immediately after the downfall of Antiochus 

5 See later, pp. 139ff. 



figure of the sovereign king of David's line is absent, 
the vision of the kingdom remains. And before our 
Lord's time, though the hope of the world- sovereignty 
of Israel never looked so remote as under Roman 
supremacy, the figure of the victorious king of David's 
line is again brought into prominence. In the 
" Psalms of Solomon " a Pharisaic work of some 
fifty years before *our Lord's day the expected 
kingdom has again its centre in the wonderful and 
all-powerful king, who is there first apparently called 
" the Lord Christ." * 

(4) The vision of the days of the Messiah, or of 
the good time to come, which formed so large a part 
of the prophetic message, vague as it remained in 
its details, had some other definite features which 
must be noted as forming part of the Jewish back- 
ground of the New Testament. Israel, restored, 
converted and supreme, is to be granted by God 
a new and everlasting Covenant which shall renew 
the old covenant made with David and augment its 
spiritual richness. 2 It is to be accompanied by an 
outpouring of the divine Spirit " upon all flesh," 3 and 
by a resurrection of righteous Israelites, who have 
died before the dawning of the great day, to partici- 
pate in its blessings. 4 We cannot understand the 
New Testament unless we remember that the coming 
of the glorious kingdom, or reign of God and His 
Anointed, was to be accompanied by the inauguration 

1 Ps. Sol. xvii 36 : " They are all holy and their king is Christ 
the Lord " (Xpio-rbs Kvpios), or it may be translated " an anointed 
Lord." But in Lam. iv 20 the Hebrew text " The Lord's anointed " 
appears in the Greek Bible as Xpurrbs Kvpios. 

2 Jer. xxxii 40, 1 5, Ezech. xvi 60, Is. Iv 3, lix 21. 

8 See Ezech. xi 19, xxxvi 24 ff., xxxvii 14, xxxix 29, Is. 
xxxii 15, xliv 3, lix 21, Zech. xii 10, Joel ii 28-29. The centre 
of this effusion of the Holy Spirit of God is the Messiah himself 
(Is. xi 1, 2), or "the Servant of Jehovah " (xlii 1, Ixi 1). But 
the Messiah does not appear in O.T. prophecy as himself destined 
to give the Spirit to his new people. 

4 Is. xxvi 19, Dan. xii 2. (Here also is the resurrection of the 
unfaithful to shame and contempt.) 


of a New Covenant, the effusion of the divine Spirit, 
and the Resurrection of the Dead. 1 

(5) This was the hope of Israel, vague in detail, 
but fairly definite in general outline, which we find 
in possession as soon as we approach the Gospels, 
in its more spiritual form in the hopes of the humble 
and pious folk among whom our Lord was born, 
and in a fiercer secular form in the zealous nationalism 
of the popular heart. How Jesus both accepted and 
transmuted this hope it will be in part our business 
to consider. 

But there is one feature of this hope, to which 
we shall have to give more detailed consideration 
when we come to speak of the much discussed sub- 
ject of our Lord's apocalyptic teaching, 2 but which 
we must not omit now. We shall find our Lord 
speaking of Himself as " the Son of Man " who is 
to come at the last on the clouds of heaven, with 
the holy angels, in great power and glory, to judge 
the world and gather together His elect. 3 Now 
there is one only passage in the Old Testament 
a passage which had clearly been given great import- 
ance to which this language refers. It is the vision 
of Daniel. 4 

And behold there came with the clouds of heaven 
one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the 
Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. 
And there was given him dominion and glory and a 
kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should 
serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion 
which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which 
shall not be destroyed. 

1 I say nothing here of the figure of the Servant of Jehovah, who 
redeems Israel by the sacrifice of his life, in Is. lii, liii, which seems 
to have taken no hold on the imagination of Israel before our Lord's 

a Cap. V. p. 137. 

3 See Mark xiii 26-27 and xiv 62. 

4 Dan. vii. 1S-27. 


In this vision the being in the form of a son of man 
stands not for the Christ but for the people of 
Israel the " people of the saints of the most high," 
just as the four animal forms who come out of the 
sea l represent the empires of Babylon, Media, Persia 
and Greece. They are all merely symbolic figures. 
What the writer is contemplating under these figures 
is the establishment; in the place of the Empire of 
the Seleucid successors of Alexander the Great, now 
represented by the persecutor Antiochus Epiphanes, 
of the people of Israel in triumph upon the earth. 
It is the old Messianic hope without mention of the 

In the past it was thought that our Lord was 
simply referring back to this vision, interpreting the 
figure like to a son of man of the Christ, instead of 
the whole people of Israel ; just as He interpreted 
the Suffering Servant of Jehovah as the Christ, 
whereas originally he had stood for the whole people, 
or the whole of the faithful remnant. But recent 
study has brought into much prominence the later 
Jewish Apocalypses, and amongst them, most con- 
spicuously, the Book of Enoch and the part of that 
composite book which is called the Similitudes, 
which is held to date from the first century before 
Christ. And in these Similitudes a unique represen- 
tation is found. The imagery of the Book of Daniel 
is revived in a new sense. A celestial being, called 
the Elect One, in the form of a son of man, and 
called also "the Son of Man," 2 who has existed in 
heaven from the beginning, is summoned forth by 
" the Lord of Spirits " (that is the name of God in 
these Similitudes) to sit upon His throne and execute 
His judgment upon the sinful world. He is twice 

1 Verse 3. 

2 The passages, however, which call him the Elect One and those 
which call him the Son of Man are held by the experts to have 
belonged originally to different documents. 


called " the Anointed," * but otherwise suggests in 
no respect the Christ of Jewish tradition, the anointed 
King of David's line. He is a heavenly being, 
neither God nor properly man, but man-like. But 
the language used by our Lord about the coming of 
the Son of Man in judgment so much more closely 
represents the idea of these Similitudes than the 
idea of Daniel that it is difficult to doubt that our 
Lord had it in mind. We remember that the Epistle 
of Jude, one of " the brethren of the Lord," is full 
of reminiscences of the Book of Enoch, and there 
is no reason why our Lord should not have been 
acquainted with it. 2 Only if so, as we shall see, He 
sets its imagery on a wholly new background in 
applying it to Himself. 

We shall have to return to this subject when we 
are examining our Lord's language. But it is neces- 
sary, in describing the Jewish hope, to say something 
about these Jewish Apocalypses which have lately 
been engaging so much attention. 3 

1 In c. xlviii 10 and lii 4. But see Beginnings of Christianity, 
p. 371. Note also that in Ixxi 14, as it stands, Enoch himself is 
said to be constituted the Son of Man. Dr. Charles, however, 
would alter the text. On the very ambiguous nature of the 
document see appended note, p. 30. 

2 I am assuming what I see no good reason to doubt, that the 
author of the Epistle of Jude was really one of our Lord's family, 
probably a half-brother. 

3 For a general account of the Apocalyptic literature we may 
go to Dr. Charles, Between the Old and New Testaments (Williams 
& Norgate, " Home University Library "), or to Lagrange, op. cit., 
or to Drs. Foakes Jackson and Lake, op. cit., pp. 126 following. 

Dr. Charles is an expert and, like most experts, is over-enthu- 
siastic on his special subject and, I think, greatly exaggerates 
its importance. And an American writer, Dr. Simkhovitch, not 
a theologian by profession but an economist, who has published 
an exceedingly interesting essay, Towards the Understanding of 
Jesus (Macmillan, New York, 1921), expresses feelings about these 
apocalypses which many of us will be found to share : "In the 
apocalyptic and eschatological literature of the time the world 
was to come to an end. But what really did come to an end in 
that literature was the last shred of thinking capacity and common 
sense." He would perhaps admit that 2 Esdras is a partial 



This not very attractive type of literature was 
quite unknown to our learned men of old, except 
in the case of the Apocalypse of Ezra, which we 
find in our " Apocrypha " as the Second Book of 
Esdras. These apocalypses belong to the centuries 
immediately before or after the birth of our Lord. 
They were soon discarded by Jews and Christians 
alike, but found favour for a time in some quarters, 
and many of them survive in translations into many 
languages, indicating their former popularity. They 
are written as in the persons of ancient seers Adam, 
Enoch, Noah, the sons of Jacob, Moses, Ezra 
recording visions of the mysteries of nature and 
creation, and of the angels and of the future destinies 
of the world, the day of judgment, and heaven and 
hell. 1 And one of their chief characteristics may be 
said to be that, instead of this world being the scene 
of the kingdom of God (as in the Old Testament), 
this world is represented, at least in many of them, 
as wholly passing away and another world, the world 
of heaven and hell, as taking its place. 

In the prophets and psalms we have a great deal 
of language about nature, which represents it as 
violently moved in sympathy with God's acts of 
judgment and mercy, and in terror at His coming. 
" The hills melted like wax at the presence of the 
Lord.'* " All the host of heaven shall be dissolved 
and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll." 
" The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and 
the moon shall not cause her light to shine." " The 
mountains and the hills shall break forth before you 
into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap 
their hands." We shall have to come back upon this 
sort of language, where we find the like to it being 

1 They seem, in their speculative interest in the mysteries of 
nature and the unseen world, and their elaborate doctrine of angels 
and in their " other world " hopes, to exhibit an influence alien 
to Israel. We may perhaps find in Persia the source of this 


used by our Lord and His disciples. It is difficult 
to say how far it is consciously metaphorical. Cer- 
tainly in the later days of prophecy the prophets 
contemplated a physical catastrophe on the vastest 
scale accompanying the divine judgments on the 
world and the ushering in of the divine kingdom. 
The old heaven and the old earth yield to a new 
heaven and a new earth. But the new heaven and 
the new earth always, on examination, appear to 
be the old heaven and the old earth purified and 
renewed, with Jerusalem still at the centre and the 
nations of the world doing her homage. 1 

But this was not the case in the later Apocalypses. 
There, says Dr. Harnack, 2 " the expectations for the 
future become more and more transcendent ; they 
are shifted increasingly to the realm of the super- 
natural and the supramundane ; something quite 
new comes down from heaven to earth, and the new 
course on which the world enters severs it from the 
old ; nay this earth, transfigured as it will be, is no 
longer the final goal ; the idea of an absolute bliss 
arises whose abode can only be heaven itself." So 
also Dr. Charles writes : " The hope of an eternal 
Messianic kingdom on the present earth, which had 
been taught by the Old Testament prophets and 
cherished by every Israelite, was then abandoned. 
The earth had come to be regarded as wholly unfit 
for the manifestation of the kingdom." 3 

I cannot but think that in recent literature the 
importance of these Apocalypses has been immensely 

1 See Is. xxiv 23 (apparently a late prophecy incorporated in 
Isaiah), and Is. Ixvi 19-24 and Joel ii 32, hi 16. So it is, as we 
shall see, in the New Testament. 

What is Christianity ? (Eng. Trans., Williams & Norgate), p. 137. 

3 Between the Old World and the New, p. 119. If Dr. Charles 
means by " then," at the date c. 100 B.C., when the new style of 
apocalypse begins, then the statement is not, I think, true. The 
old hope survived in full operation into N.T. times see The Psalm * 
of Solomon and the N.T. But it is true within a certain range of 
feeling or thought represented in these apocalypses. 


exaggerated . For example, we are constantly told 
that the established belief of the Jews and of the 
Pharisees in particular, and therefore of St. Paul 
in his Pharisaic days, included the belief in a Messiah 
pre-existing in the heavens, after the manner of the 
" elect one " of the Book of Enoch. This I believe 
to be so exaggerated an estimate as to be positively 
untrue, and I have -dealt with this at some length 
in a note appended to this chapter. What I would 
seek to do here is to point out that the heavenly 
being of Enoch, though he may be called the anointed 
one, is a substitute for the Christ of Jewish tradition 
and quite different in idea. When the Jewish idea 
of a Messianic kingdom of perfection in this world 
was abandoned by the apocalyptic writers in favour 
of another world wholly different from this, the 
tradition of the Messianic kingdom to come became 
an awkward encumbrance which could not be fitted 
into their scheme. They either left it out altogether 
(like the author of our Similitudes of Enoch) and let 
the day of judgment and the other world succeed at 
once to the confusions of this world, or they inter- 
posed the Messianic kingdom, with or without the 
personal Messiah, as a temporary preparation for, 
or foretaste of, the real heaven to come, 1 to be 
succeeded in its turn by conflict and confusion. 
From their point of view the Messiah and his kingdom 
upon earth were not wanted. What they wanted 
was the other world. And the so-called Messiah of 
the Book of Enoch, who is the divine instrument of 
judgment and the harbinger of the world to come, is a 
substitute for the human king of the family of David 
who was to inaugurate the kingdom of God in this 
world. The two ideas belong to different orders of 
thought. Now, no doubt, the Messianic hope when 

1 This is the first form of the idea of the millennium, which we 
imd in the Revelation of St. J ohn. 


our Lord came into the world was full of confusions. 
Nevertheless nothing is more certain than that what 
was in possession, and remained in possession, was 
the old orthodox Jewish tradition of a king of David's 
line who was to restore the kingdom to Israel and to 
make Israel the centre of a world-wide kingdom of 
God. How our Lord dealt with this expectation, 
and what use He made of the apocalyptic idea on a 
new basis, we shall see in due course. But all the 
evidence shows that the old Jewish tradition, as it 
appears in the " Psalms of Solomon," and not the 
apocalyptic vision, possessed the ground in the New 
Testament times. This is the Messianic hope of the 
circle of humble, pious folk among whom our Lord 
was born. This is the basis of the preaching of 
John the Baptist, as it is represented in the Gospels, 
who expects and finds the Christ as a man among 
men on earth. All the anxious questioning of the 
Jews expressed in the Gospels concerning the origin 
of the Christ, and what is to be expected of Him, is 
on the same basis. God was " to restore again the 
kingdom to Israel " through an anointed king of 
David's line. Like the influence of the Essenes, 
which hardly appears in the New Testament, so the 
influence of the apocalypses doubtless existed in a 
certain circle a circle, we suspect, from which our 
Lord was not wholly alien but it was by no means 
dominant or common. This the evidence seems to 
indicate quite unmistakably. 1 

On this basis I may quite briefly indicate the stand- 
points of the different parties among the Jews with 
whose names the Gospels make us familiar the 
Sadducees, the Herodians, the Pharisees ; and I must 

1 See Matt, ii 4-6, Luke i 32-3, 54-5, 76-9, ii 11, 26, 34, 38. 
For the preaching of John the Baptist see p. 45. For later indi- 
cations see Matt, xii 23, xxii 41 ff., xxiv 5, 24, xxvii 42, Mark 
x 47, xi 10, Luke iv 41 ff., ix 20, Acts i 6 ; cf. John i 41, 
45-9, iv 25, vi 15, vii 41-2. 


add, though the name is only once mentioned, the 
Zealots. 1 

The Sadducees are most favourably represented 
in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, which appears to belong 
to their tradition. In the New Testament their 
chief representatives are the high priestly family of 
Annas, a thoroughly worldly group, occupied with 
the interests of their position, and determined, above 
all things, to keep on good terms with Rome, so as 
to retain whatever relative independence and govern- 
ing authority were still allowed to them. They 
probably were totally without the Messianic expecta- 
tion, and, indeed, it is not anywhere suggested in 

The Herodians were no doubt equally alien to it. 
They were the adherents of a semi-Jewish dynasty 
whose consistent policy had been, while maintaining 
the Jewish religion, at least in form, and giving it a 
magnificent shrine in the new temple at Jerusalem, 
to favour the absorption of Israel in the general 
world of the Roman Empire. 2 

But the Pharisees, as Josephus says, " had the 
multitude on their side." They were the real leaders 
of religion. Not that they were advocates of armed 
resistance to Rome. They saw the hopelessness of 
this, and in fact they had apparently joined in the 
petition, offered to Augustus soon after our Lord's 
birth, that Judaea might be made a Roman province. 
They anticipated, no doubt, less interference with 
true religion under a religiously indifferent Roman 

1 The point of view of these parties, in relation to our Lord's 
teaching, is admirably characterized in Professor Vladimir 
Simkhovitch's Towards the Understanding of Jesus (Macmillan, 
New York, 1921) a most interesting study; also in Stephen 
Liberty's Political Relations of Christ's Ministry (Milford, 1916). 

That one of the apostles is called the Zealot indicates, what other 
evidence indicates, that the party was already in existence, as 
assuredly its spirit was. Of the Essenes, as they do not cross our 
path in the N.T., I say nothing. 

3 Simkhovitch, op. tit. pp. 15-17. 


governor than under an Herodian prince bent on 
secularizing Judaism. But they held passionately to 
the hope of the Messiah. We probably interpret 
them best if we represent them as believing that the 
chosen people, by the strict observance of the law 
and the tradition of the elders, would merit and 
obtain such favour of God as that He would bare 
His arm and work the great redemption by His own 

But this acquiescence in foreign sovereignty did 
not satisfy the people as a whole. Since the days 
of the Maccabean revolt, under the Greek and the 
Roman yoke alike, Judaea seethed with nationalism, 
and the Zealots were the extremists in this move- 
ment. For them the hope of the Messiah meant the 
hope of a king who would lead them in revolt against 
the Roman supremacy, and, by the power of God 
assisting him, do as the Maccabees had done of old, 
only on a very much grander scale that is, win 
liberty for Israel, and even world sovereignty. It is 
impossible to read the pages of the Jewish historian 
Josephus, without seeing what a seething mass of 
nationalism Judaea was in our Lord's lifetime, and 
how the Messianic hope presented itself to the heart 
of the people. 1 

I hope enough has been said to enable any reader 
who has an ordinary acquaintance with the Old 
Testament to realize the extreme importance of 
beginning the study of Christ on the background 

1 See Simkhovitch, op. cit., pp. 27 f . : " The religion of their fore- 
fathers became [to the Jewish people at large] the unfurled banner 
of a nation at bay. . . . From now on, whether in passive resist- 
ance or in open rebellion, the only Lord and Master they recognised 
was the Lord of Hosts . . . with whom they were in covenant, 
and who must send the great Deliverer to save His people in their 
hour of need." Cf. p. 30 and p. 48 : " The loud nationalist call 
to rebellion, the fervid hope for a Messiah, God's anointed leader 
and the redeemer of Israel, stirred the deepest emotions." 


of the traditional Jewish faith and hope. This 
is equally important for what it excludes that is, 
the possibility of our Lord's first disciples " deifying " 
their honoured Master in the way Greeks would have 
done, because their minds were full of the " jealousy " 
of the One God the Creator ; and for what it in- 
volves that is the eager expectation of divine re- 
demption, which, at the period when Jesus was born, 
was especially acute and which ran upon the tradi- 
tional lines of the prophetic forecast of the Messiah 
and his kingdom on earth. 

Traces of Polytheism in the Old Testament 

As is well known, the common Hebrew word for 
God is a plural " elohim." But this is interpreted by 
A. B. Davidson (The Theol. of the O.T., p. 100) and 
Driver (Genesis, pp. 402 ff.) as a plural of majesty rather 
than as a relic of polytheism. Nevertheless, we find 
phrases in the O.T. which suggest that there were other 
Gods besides Jehovah phrases which would not have 
been used in the later days of Israel : and the same 
must be said of the use of elohim for judges and rulers 
(Psalm Ixxxii 6), or for the dead (1 Sam. xxviii 13), 
or perhaps for angels (Psalm viii 5). Such uses are 
probably derived from a tradition older than strict 
monotheism. But all this laxer use of the title God 
had been rendered impossible by the teaching of the 
Prophets. Only One could be called God or worshipped. 

Of course the use of Psalm Ixxxii ("I have said ye 
are Gods ") ascribed to Jesus in John x 34 is interesting. 
It might suggest that our Lord wished to encourage 
something like the extended Hellenic use of the term 
God. But a single phrase in a single Gospel must not be 
interpreted so as to be quite out of harmony with the 
general teaching of our Lord. This particular passage 
is, I think, one of those in which (granted its genuineness) 
our Lord asks questions solely to force men to think out 
their own meaning without conveying any positive 


teaching at all. He means " How can you object to 
my calling myself the Son of God, when you yourselves 
are bound to recognize that in the Psalms judges are 
even called Gods in some sense ? There is here plainly 
some sort of communication of divine authority to men 
such as you should recognize also in me." I shall have 
occasion later (pp. 186 f.) to point out that it was part of 
the method of our Lord to test men's sincerity and 
consistency by questions which cannot be taken as 
suggesting any positive teaching on His part, e.g. Mark 
x 18 and xii 35-37. 

The Idea of Divine Purpose in the Teaching of Zoroaster 

Quite independently of Israel, the Persian or Iranian 
race, under the prophetic guidance of Zoroaster, whose 
date is quite uncertain but w r ho was assuredly a real 
man and a great prophetic soul, was taught to see this 
world as the scene of a divine purpose one day to triumph. 
Whether Zoroaster was an ultimate dualist appears to 
be uncertain. But certainly he saw this world, and the 
larger universe, as the scene of a conflict between a good 
spirit and a bad. But the good spirit is to triumph. 
" Deliverers " or " saviours " are sent to help forward 
his victory. And the call to all men is to exercise their 
free will by co-operating with the good god and His 
instruments, and so " make the world advance." The 
end " the last turning of the creation in its course " 
is certain. The scene of history is to close in a day of 
judgment, beyond which is a perpetual heaven for the 
righteous (" the best mental state "), a perpetual hell 
("the worst life") for "the liars" or those w r ho have 
followed the false spirit, and perhaps a middle region 
for " those whose false things and good things balance." 
This primitive ethical gospel of Zoroaster became much 
overlaid and buried in rubbish ; and thus it contrasts 
with the Jewish faith in having been on the whole in- 
effectual over any wide area : see Dr. Sydney Cave's 
Introd. to the Study of some Living Religions of the East 
(Duckworth, 1921 a very useful study), pp. 64 ff. ; 


<?f. Hoffding's Philosophy of Religion (Eng. trans., 
Macmillan, 1906), p. 53, and Bevan's Hellenism and 
Christianity, p. 187, where, however, the statement that 
Zoroaster looked for one Saviour in the fulness of time 
to destroy evil does not seem to be borne out by the 
earliest authorities. It is certainly not to be found in 
the deeply interesting Gathas (Sacred Books of the East, 
vol. xxxi.). 

In the recent work of Eduard Meyer, Ursprang und 
Anfdnge des Christenthum-s, vol. ii., a very important place 
is assigned to Persian beliefs the beliefs emanating from 
Zoroaster in influencing the later religion of Israel. 
In particular the whole idea of the " world to come " 
as a world quite different from the present world a 
world of heaven and hell which begins when this world has 
vanished such as appears in many of the later Jewish 
Apocalypses, is supposed to be due to Persian influ- 
ences, and also the developed angelology and doctrine of 


The Belief in the Pre-existing Son of Man 

It is the fashion to-day to speak as if the Jews, and 
especially the Pharisees, of our Lord's day believed in 
the Messiah as the Son of Man, already existing in the 
heaven from the beginning of time and destined to be 
manifested in God's good time. So Dr. Rashdall l (quoting 
Weiss) : " Wrede and Briichner have conclusively shown 
that Paul before his conversion held the belief, as a 
Pharisee, that the Messiah existed from all eternity with 
>God in heaven." Thus, "as an apostle of Christ, he 
thought of Jesus as the Messiah and therefore ... a 
heavenly being who existed with the Father before His 
manifestation on earth." So Dr. Stanton 2 : The pre- 
cxistence of Jesus " was inevitably suggested by the 
adentification of Jesus with the heavenly Son of Man." 
So also Dr. Harris, Creeds or No Creeds (Murray, 
1922) : " It is one of the most assured results of recent 

1 Idea oj Atommoti, pp. 127-9. 

a The Gospels as Historical Documents, vol. iii. 


Synoptic criticism (liberal as well as orthodox) that the 
title Son of Man implies pre-existence, and that not 
merely impersonal or ideal pre-existence, but actual and 
personal pre-existence in a state of divine glory and 
majesty with the Father in heaven " (see pp. 220, 264, 
367). But we must confront these scholars with Dal- 
nian, 1 than whom, I suppose, there is no greater authority 
on Jewish matters : " Judaism has never known any- 
thing of a pre-existence peculiar to the Messiah, ante- 
cedent to his birth as a human being" " The dominance 
of the idea in any Jewish circle whatever cannot seriously 
be upheld." " The common opinion that Paul simply 
adopted his designation of Christ as 4 the last Adam ' and 
* the second man 'from the Rabbinic theology is erroneous, 
for their theology knew nothing of such a comparison 
between Adam and the Messiah." Nor did it know any- 
thing of a pre-existent ideal man. Dalman seems to me 
to prove his case. 

(1) In documents which can reasonably be held to be 
pre-Christian there is nothing to suggest a pre-existing 
Son of Man or pre-existing Messiah except the Similitudes 
of Enoch, of which we are just going to speak, and in 
post-Christian Judaism only the " Ezra Apocalypse " 
(see 2 Esdras vii 28, xii 32, xiii 26-52, xiv 9), 2 and 
nothing else till we come to a seventh- or eighth-century 
document, and later to mediaeval mysticism. The only 
pre-Christian ground of the idea, then, appears to be 
the Similitudes of Enoch. 

(2) But we must be very careful in quoting this docu- 
ment. What we have to do with is a translation in 
Ethiopic from a Greek translation of the original. Our 
existing version is confessedly greatly interpolated. 
Moreover, it has passed through Christian hands. 
Again, the critics rightly discern, underlying our existing 
Ethiopic text, two documents, from which the relevant 
passages are quoted one of which (A) speaks of a 
celestial figure which is called " the Elect One," and 
another different document (B) which speaks of " another 

1 Words of Jesus, pp. 128-32, 248, 252. 

8 See Dr. Box's Tlie Ezra Apocalypse (Pitman, 1912). The date 
of the whole book is c. A.D. 120. Some of the passages referred to 
belong to an older document, c. A.D. 90. 


being whose countenance had the appearance of a man," 
and who is afterwards called " that Son of Man " or 
" the Son of Man." l Both documents appear to have 
assigned to the celestial figure the same functions, though 
pre-existence is only asserted of " the Son of Man." 2 
Now it seems to be probable that the document (A) is 
original and the document (B) interpolated either by a 
Jew who sought to divert the title Son of Man, derived 
from the Book of Daniel, from the Christian human-born 
Christ, or (less probably) by a Christian from a somewhat 
different motive. See Lagrange Le Messianfeme chez 
les Juifs (Paris : Lecoffre, 1909) a careful and ex- 
haustive examination. On the general idea of pre- 
existence see pp. 43 ff. ; on the Similitudes, pp. 87 f. 

Further, we must notice that the Similitudes as they 
stand give a confused impression. The " Son of Man," 
or Elect One, is a celestial quasi-angelic being who is 
properly neither God nor man and is never destined for 
human birth and life. He is rather a substitute for the 
Messiah than the Messiah (see Beginnings of Christi- 
anity, by Foakes Jackson and Kirsopp Lake, p. 371). 
But in one passage (Ixxi 14), which is supported by 
another interpolated passage (Ix 10) and by the " Book 
of the Secrets of Enoch" (see Lagrange, p. 97) Enoch him- 
self is represented as that Son of Man. (See Beginnings, 
p. 371. Dr. Charles would alter the text.) 

(3) Dr. Charles' theory that the wicked * Kings ' and 
' mighty men ' of the Similitudes, whom the Elect is to 
overthrow, are the later Maccabean princes is surely con- 
tradicted by the plain statement that they are idolaters. 
" Their faith is in the gods which they have made with 
their hands " (xlvi 7). His suggested parallels from the 
Psalms of Solomon are not parallels. There the 
Maccabean rulers are described as w r orse than the heathen 
(Ps. Sol. i 8, viii 14, xvii 16) but not as idolaters. The 
fact that in the Similitudes the adversaries are described 
as heathen seems to leave us without any certain evidence 
of date except what is found in the traces of the 
Similitudes in the Gospels. 

1 See Charles, Book of Enoch, pp. 64-5 

2 Charles, op. cit. p. 65. 


(4) All, then, that I think it is at all safe to assume 
is that the pre-Christian author of the Similitudes of the 
Book of Enoch borrowed from Daniel the idea of a 
celestial figure " like unto a Son of Man " regarded it 
as an individual and not a mere image of the sacred 
nation called the individual " the elect one," and 
represented him (still with Daniel) as coming on the 
clouds of heaven to " the Lord of Spirits " (as he calls 
God) and being appointed by God to sit on His throne 
and judge the world and usher in the world to come. 
This celestial being was, of course, conceived as pre- 
existing, and the idea would have been known to what- 
ever circle of persons was familiar with the Similitudes. 
But the circle does not appear to have been a large one. 
As I have shown, it was the old-fashioned idea of the 
Messiah, who was to be the Son of David and to restore 
the kingdom to Israel on earth, which is assumed to 
prevail in the Gospels and early chapters of Acts, and 
none other. And it is (I think) quite certain that in 
our Lord's day " the Son of Man " was not recognized 
(before He adopted the name) as a title of the Messiah. 
Also there does not appear to be in the New Testament 
any recognition whatever of a pre-existing Man or 
celestial being in human form (see below, pp.76n. 2, 87 f., 
115, 313). 



UPON the basis of the Jew's belief in God, and his 
vivid, though confused, expectation of His coming 
and His kingdom, our task lies now with a certain 
group of Jews, the first disciples of Jesus. We 
have to examine the gradual growth of their faith 
in their Master, first as the promised Messiah, then 
as the Lord of all, then as the incarnate Son of God ; 
and our object will be to enquire whether this faith, 
as it reaches expression in St. Paul and the Epistle 
to the Hebrews and St. John, was in such sense 
inevitable, or required by the facts of the case, as 
that it can be pronounced the only legitimate inter- 
pretation of the person of Jesus, valid for us to-day 
as for them of old. 

This is a profoundly interesting study of the growth 
of a conviction in a gradually expanding group : 
but it is also a difficult study because every step of 
our progress will be over ground which has been 
the subject of acute controversy controversy which 
is still as far as possible from any general settlement 
in the world of Biblical criticism ; and my readers 
must be patient with me if I proceed very carefully. 

As has been explained l in the volume which pre- 
ceded this, the mass of the critical work which has 

1 Belief in God, pp. 215ff. 


been poured from the European press, and the most 
famous of the attempted reconstructions of " the 
Jesus of history," have been produced upon the 
basis of an assumption that the miraculous and 
generally the supernatural that is the coming of 
God into the world of man and nature in a new 
sense with a directly redemptive purpose, ac- 
companied with special acts calculated to mark 
that purpose cannot really have occurred, or, at 
any rate, is not rationally credible. As has been 
shown, to start from such an intellectual assumption 
involves very violent treatment of our documents, 
the Gospels, which are full of the miraculous and 
of the faith in a special activity of God for the re- 
demption of mankind. Thus it leaves the fabric 
of the evangelical narrative in so shattered and pre- 
carious a condition (as anyone can see for himself) 
that each critic who aims at reconstruction can 
select and reject amongst the materials that remain 
almost at will. This is what accounts for the 
amazing differences in the resultant " Jesus of 
History " which is offered us by different schools 
of critics. 

(1) To-day there are three such schools which 
excite the most interest. There is first the Liberal 
Protestant School, of which Professor Harnack may 
be taken as the outstanding representative. In his 
famous lectures on "The Essence of Christianity" 1 
Jesus appears as a simple and gracious figure indeed, 
preaching an ethical gospel, inspired by the con- 
viction of the Fatherhood of God, the infinite and 
equal worth of every human soul, the duty and joy 
of self-sacrifice and brotherliness, and the inward- 
ness of true religion or the kingdom of God. " In 
the combination of these ideas God the Father, 
providence, the position of men as God's children, 

1 In the English translation, What is Christianity ? (Williams 
and Norgate) ; in the original, Das Wesen des Christenthums. 


the infinite value of the human soul the whole 
gospel is expressed." 1 The work of the gracious 
teacher was accompanied by a marvellous power of 
healing (" by suggestion " as we should now say), 
which is represented in an exaggerated form in the 
Gospels as they stand, mixed with nature miracles 
which, of course, it is taken for granted cannot 
really have occurred. 2 But the " miracles," of 
whatever sort they were, and the claim of Jesus to 
be the Christ (which in some sense is admitted), 
with everything that would involve superhuman 
quality in Him, are passed over by Harnack very 
lightly. His ethical teaching and influence was 
the thing that mattered. The subsequent belief 
of the disciples in His corporal resurrection from 
the dead, and their expectation of His coming in 
glory, and the later introduction of a doctrine of 
Incarnation, with a metaphysic of Christ's person 
and of the Trinity in God, and the theory of a visible 
church with sacraments and priesthood all these 
elements of Christianity are treated as regrettable 
necessities, due in part to the pressure first of the 
Jewish and then of the Hellenic environment, and 
in part to the exigences of an elementary organiza- 
tion struggling to maintain itself. They were the 
husk necessary for the time to the preservation of 
the kernel. They are for the most part quite alien 
to the spirit and intention of Jesus, and their sole 
justification lies in the extent to which they enabled 
the one thing necessary the essential ethical spirit 
of Jesus to maintain itself and again and again to 
be revived. But the Christ of Pauline and Johannine 
theology, and even the Christ of the Acts, stands 
already* at a great distance from the Jesus of 

1 Op. cit. p. 70 ; cf. p. 79: " The thought that he who loses his 
life shall save it ... effects a transmutation of values." 
a See pp. 27-31. 


(2) In violent contrast to the Jesus of the Liberal 
Protestant School, which has many representatives 
in this country, stands the Jesus of the Apocalyptic 
school represented by Schweitzer and Loisy, which 
also has had great influence on not a few English 
writers. 1 

All the startling " apocalyptic " features of the 
Gospels which Harnack sought to eliminate or 
reduce in significance, are by these writers brought 
to the front in their reconstruction of the original 
history, and made to occupy almost the whole 
ground. Jesus is represented as what we cannot 
but call an enthusiastic fanatic, who believed him- 
self to be destined to be manifested immediately 
from heaven as the Christ or the Son of Man (of the 
Book of Enoch) to judge the present world and in- 
augurate the next world. 

Schweitzer and his school make it a chief point 
of their contention that " the Christ " of the Gospels 
is not an earthly person, but one to be manifested 
in glory from heaven, according to the picture in 
the Similitudes of Enoch. Therefore our Lord on 
earth was not the Christ, but only believed Himself 
to be destined to become the Christ on the Day of 
Judgment. Incidentally I would note 2 that this is 
flatly contrary to the evidence of the Gospels. There, 
whatever the Christ is afterwards to become, He is 
represented as first of all an earthly person, born 
of the seed of David. 

When Jesus first sent out the Twelve, He expected 

1 The best book by which to judge of Schweitzer's view is the 
second part of his treatise on " The Lord's Supper " (Das Abend- 
mahl). This second part has been translated as The Mystery of the 
Kingdom of God ; The Secret of Jesus' Meseiahship and Passion, 
by Walter Lowrie, and published in New York (Dodd, Mead & Co., 
1914). It is most illuminating. In his larger and later work, 
published in English as The Quest of the Historical Jesus (Black, 
1910), his theory is constantly referred to and assumed. But its 
grounds are not continuously given as in the earlier book. 

8 See below, p. 76 n. 1. 


His coming as Christ to occur before their mission 
to the cities of Israel was completed, that is within 
a few weeks. 1 As a result of His disappointment 
in this expectation, and by reflecting on the death 
of John the Baptist and on the figure of the Servant 
of Jehovah in Isaiah liii, He came to the conviction 
that His own sacrificial death was necessary to 
bring the day of Resurrection and the coming of 
the Christ in glory, and so gave Himself to death. 
He died upon the cross with the cry of desolation 
on His lips, and left His disciples overwhelmed with 
the consciousness of failure. But their reviving 
faith, feeding upon " visions " of Jesus as risen and 
glorified, built the fabric of the belief of the earliest 
Church in the heavenly Christ immediately to appear 
in glory, which again was gradually transmuted 
into the Christ of later Christian belief. By this 
apocalyptic school of interpreters Christ's ethical 
teaching is even ludicrously minimized. He had, 
according to them, no thought of founding or re- 
founding a Church to live a new kind of ethical 
life in this world. He was a man possessed with 
one idea, the idea of the immediate end of the world 
and of Himself as the instrument of the divine 
judgment; and this idea rendered all this world and 
its concerns a matter of little moment, as indeed 
the life of the world was almost over. All that is to 
be done is to repent and to detach oneself absolutely 
from all worldly ties, so as to be free to be admitted 
into the world to come which is immediately 
imminent. 2 

From this Jesus the Christ of the Church is indeed 
very far removed. It was only in fact by His ceasing 
to be remembered as historically He was, that He 
could be serviceable for the generations to come. 

1 This is based on Matt, x 23, on which see below, p. 152 n. 

2 This is what is meant by describing Christ's moral teaching as 
merely rt interims-ethik." 


(3) There is a third school, for so it must be ranked, 
which is best represented by Bousset in Germany 
and Kirsopp Lake in England. 1 In this school the 
Jesus of history is a very dim figure indeed. Little 
or no originality of preaching about God or human 
life is ascribed to Him. He preached a "message 
of the kingdom of God and the duty of fellowship 
in righteousness and love and mercy and forgive- 
ness," 2 a message also of obedience to God and the 
pre-eminence of spiritual values, largely presented in 
parables. He died a loyal martyr to his witness for 
real righteousness against the selfish conservatism 
and religiosity of the Pharisees, the worldly hostility 
of the Sadducees, and the violent ideals of popular 
leaders of nationalism. But all the supernatural 
features of the Gospels, and almost all the apoca- 
lyptic claim, is to be ascribed to the first Jerusalem 
community of disciples, and not to Christ, 3 

The account which Bousset gives of the belief of 
this community is very similar to that given by 
Schweitzer, but it is ascribed, as I say, to the com- 
munity and not to Jesus. This is the first trans- 
formation that by which the historical Jesus 
becomes the apocalyptic Christ. The second trans- 
formation is still more important. It occurred in 
the Hellenistic churches such as Antioch, Tarsus 
and Damascus. There the Pagan religious world 
was largely occupied with " mystery cults " that 
is religious societies, which worshipped hero-gods 
Dionysus or Hermes or Serapis, or Cybele and Attis, 
or Osiris and Isis by whose patronage they believed 

1 The central work of this school is Kyrios Christos (a history of 
the faith in Christ from the beginnings of Christianity to Irenaeus), 
by Wilhelm Bousset, Gottingen, 1921. The school is best repre- 
sented in England by Dr. Kirsopp Lake, Landmarks of Early 
Christianity, and the larger work, The Beginnings of Christianity, 
in which he collaborates with Dr. Foakes Jackson. 

1 Bousset, op. tit. p. 74. 

3 P. 37 : " Hier nicht der historische Jesus spricht, Bondern die 
Gemeinde, die ihren Glauben an den Menschensohn verkundet." 


themselves to be about to be translated from the 
miseries and bondage of material life and death 
into immortality and bliss. These mystery religions, 
about which I shall have more to say, were " sacra- 
mental " that is to say, participation in the blessings 
of the redemption offered by them was to be secured 
by undergoing certain ceremonies of initiation and 
subsequent fellowship in a community of initiated 
persons, who held some secrets of mystical knowledge 
not communicated to the outer world. And they 
had emancipated themselves from their original 
national or local boundaries, and become, as we 
may say, world religions. In these mystery religions 
the hero-God, who was the object of worship, was 
called " Lord." In the Christian communities, 
then, of the Hellenistic world Jesus also began to be 
called " Lord " ; and this title, for the majority of 
the Gentile converts, carried with it all the associa- 
tions of their former cults. Even before St. Paul 
came to the front in these Gentile churches, they 
were already in part assimilated to these Pagan 
societies. But it was St. Paul's genius which, on 
a basis of the old Jewish monotheism and apoca- 
lyptic beliefs, developed a doctrine of Jesus the Lord, 
the author of individual and present salvation " in 
Christ " or " in the Spirit," mediated by sacramental 
actions and in a sacramental fellowship, for any 
man of any race, whereby the old Jewish and the 
new Hellenic ideas of religion were brought together 
in one system ; and this was the basis on which 
what we know as the theology and sacramental 
system of the Catholic church was founded. Sub- 
stantially the same principles later found similar 
expression in the theology of the unknown thinker 
whom the Church called St. John. This was the 
second great transformation by which the Christ 
of St. Paul and of " St. John," which is almost the 
Christ of the Catholic Church, takes the place of 


the apocalyptic Christ, and becomes still further 
removed from the Jesus of history. 

The educated Englishman to-day who is inter- 
ested in religion is fairly familiar with the Liberal 
Protestant conception of Jesus, and with the con- 
ception of the Apocalyptic school. But the theory 
of the school of Bousset is still strange to him. 
However we shall hear more of it. We are being 
frequently warned by grave voices that this is the 
most important of the theories with which orthodoxy 
or traditional Christianity is confronted. I shall, 
of course, have to return to it, and to the others 
just described. But for the present I leave them. 
The method which I propose to follow is first of all 
positive not negative. Confessedly all these theories 
involve leaving out and repudiating as unhistorical 
large elements in the Synoptic Gospels and Acts 
as they stand. Now I am making no claim for 
complete freedom from error in the Gospels. But 
I have sought to establish x their claim to be regarded 
as serious history compiled by competent men, which 
must not be violently dealt with ; and I have given 
my reasons at some length for refusing to regard the 
strictly miraculous and supernatural elements in the 
Gospel narratives as incredible on a priori grounds. 2 

I do not propose to go over this ground again ; but 
perhaps I had better briefly restate the position with 
regard to the Gospels and Acts which it was sought 
to establish in the first volume and which is to be 
taken for granted in this. 

The position is (1) that the second of our Gospels 
was really written by John Mark, who from his 
youth up had lived in his mother's house at Jerusalem, 
at the very centre of the apostolic fellowship, and 
had been afterwards the companion of his cousin 
Barnabas and of St. Paul, and more particularly, 

1 See Belief in God, chaps, viii. and xi. 
a Belief in God, chaps, ix. and x. 


according to an early and trustworthy tradition, 
of St. Peter, whose customary teaching about the 
things said and done by Christ he set himself to 
reproduce as faithfully as possible ; (2) that the 
third Gospel, which is based upon Mark's material, 
and also upon another document containing matter 
common to the third Gospel with the first, which is 
commonly called Q, as well as upon information 
from other " first-hand " sources, was really written 
by the physician Luke, the companion of St. Paul, 
who has explained his motive and his method in a 
luminous preface to his Gospel, which its contents 
amply vindicate ; and (3) that the Acts is part of 
the same work as the Gospel, by the same author, 
who had the fullest opportunities of obtaining trust- 
worthy information about the beginnings of the 
Christian Church. It follows that these books 
ought to be taken, provisionally but in all serious- 
ness, as credible historical documents, unless indeed 
they should prove themselves otherwise. 

I propose then that we should build the structure 
of our argument in the main upon the Gospels of 
St. Mark and St. Luke and upon the Acts, and upon 
the other books of the New Testament which are 
not involved in serious controversy, letting nothing of 
importance rest upon the unsupported testimony of the 
first Gospel and using the fourth only as subsidiary. 1 

But I would call my readers' attention to the 
fact that to-day controversy is not so much con- 
cerned as formerly with the authenticity and date 
of documents. Thus perhaps the most important 
recent German work on " Christian origins " is that 
of Eduard Meyer, the distinguished author of the 
immense History of Antiquity (Geschichte des Alter- 
thums). He comes to his task 2 therefore on the basis 

1 But see below, Chapter IV., pp. 107 f. 

1 The Ursprung u)id Anfdnge des Christenihwna, 1921, in two 
volumes, awaiting a third. 


of very wide knowledge and a high general authority 
as a historian. He talks with some impatience 
of modern criticism as unreasonable, meaning, I 
suppose, specially modern New Testament criticism. 1 
He ascribes the third Gospel and the Acts to Luke 2 
and the second Gospel to Mark, the " interpreter " 
(Dolmetscher) of Peter, according to the tradition, 3 
and recognizes the \vork of Matthew behind our 
first Gospel. If he has in fact to give his readers 
a conception of Jesus widely different from that of 
the Evangelists, it is not because they were not in 
a position to know the facts, but because he cannot 
apparently conceive of the supernatural as being 
really historical. 4 It is just this assumption that 
I desire we should not take with us to our study 
of the Evangelists, but should approach them with 
an open mind and give them a chance to tell their 
story as to those who have ears to hear. 


All the Gospels put the activity of Jesus upon 
the immediate background of the preaching of the 
great prophet who deeply stirred Jewish society, 
John the Baptist. Josephus, the Jewish historian, 
gives some account of him as a good man and a 
preacher of righteousness, who used baptism as 
his instrument for gathering the followers of 
righteousness together ; and tells us that because 
of the great excitement which he caused among the 

1 E.g. vol. i. p. 314 : " How that (i.e. that the author of the 
Fourth Gospel intended to represent himself as being John the son 
of Zebedee) can have been called in question is one of the many 
things which remain unintelligible to me in the positions of modern 

See p. 51. 3 p. 169> 

4 See, for example, his account of the Last Supper, pp. 174 ff., 
and of the saying of Matt, xi 25 ff., p. 291. 


people and the persuasive power over them which 
he showed, Herod put him to death for fear he should 
cause some rebellion ; and he thought it better to 
act betimes and put him out of the way rather than 
to repent at leisure for having done nothing. 1 In 
all the Gospels he is presented to us, not only as a 
preacher of righteousness, who revived the memories 
of the old prophets by the tremendous force of his 
denunciations and encouragements, but also as one 
who was conscious of a definite mission to proclaim the 
immediate advent of the Kingdom of God, to herald 
the Christ who was to come, and " to make ready 
a people prepared for the Lord.*' 2 

There are matters of detail concerning the Baptist 
on which the Gospels appear to disagree, but on the 
chief points which alone concern our present enquiry 
we may feel sure. 

(1) The spirit of ancient prophecy revived in John 
in the sense especially that for him the coming of 
the Kingdom was as far as possible from being some- 
thing which the nation, as it was, could afford to 
welcome. Their eager nationalism was not enough. 
God who was to visit them in the coming of His 

1 Antiq. xviii. 52. Josephus' particular phrases are obscure, 
though the general sense is plain. The editors of the Beginnings of 
Christianity, pp. 101 ff., put a definite meaning on Josephus which, 
I think, Mr. Creed (J.T.S., Oct. 1921, p. 59) has shown to be 

The motive assigned to Herod for John's imprisonment is not 
necessarily exclusive of the motive assigned by the Gospels. His 
motives may well have been mixed. It has been pointed out 
(Belief in God, p. 206) that Josephus, writing always to conciliate 
Roman opinion, observes a discreet silence about Christianity ; 
and his silence about any relation of John to Jesus should not be 
allowed to discredit the Gospel account. 

The phrase, " the kingdom of heaven is at hand," occurs only 
in St. Matthew iii 2 ; but the same message ia implied in all the 
other Gospels. Schweitzer tries to persuade us that he behoved 
himself sent to prepare for not the Christ, but Elijah, who was 
to precede Christ. But ** the mightier than I, the latchet of whose 
shoes I am unworthy to stoop down and unloose," who " shall 
baptize you with the Holy Ohost " (Mark i 7, 8), can be none other 
than the Christ. 


Christ would take no account of their descent from 
Abraham. He demanded a holy people ; and 
sinners in Zion, however alert their national zeal, 
had as good cause as in the days of Isaiah to tremble 
at the approach of the day of God as before devouring 
fire and everlasting burnings. A fundamental 
change of mind was needed, and John's baptism 
was the symbol of admission to a new Israel a 
" people prepared for the Lord." 

(2) It is the testimony of all the Gospels that 
John not only announced the immediate coming of 
the Kingdom and the Christ, but recognized Jesus, 
on the occasion of His coming to his baptism, as 
" the greater one " who was to come. The meagre- 
ness of Mark's narrative, till he reaches (at ver. 14) 
the Galilean ministry, suggests that only at that 
point did his special information begin. What 
precedes is a bare summary of what everyone knew. 
But his brief narrative implies that, though the 
vision of the opening heaven and the descending 
Spirit was for Jesus only, the divine voice was for 
John also whether heard with his outward ear 
or only in his inward spirit, like the word of the 
Lord by the old prophets, we need not enquire 
and it proclaimed Jesus the Son of God, by which 
was then understood, I think, neither more nor less 
than the Christ. This information must have been 
conveyed, we should suppose, by John himself to 
some of the first disciples ; and St. Peter in the 
Acts represents the companionship of the apostles 
with one another and with the Lord Jesus as 
" beginning from the baptism of John." * There 
are differences in detail among the Gospels, 2 but 
there is a common witness which we have no reason 
for hesitating to accept. 

But with the narrative of the Galilean ministry 
of Jesus, we get upon the ground of chief importance. 
1 Acts i 2 1-2. * See appended note p. 68. 



If we are to do our best to judge of the impression 
produced by Jesus upon the first group of His 
disciples, and especially upon those who came closest 
to Him and whom He chose to be " the Twelve," 
we should read, at one sitting, with as fresh and free 
a mind as possible, ignoring difficulties of detail, the 
Gospel of St. Mark down to the beginning of the 
Passion narrative, and then, again at one sitting, the 
Gospel of St. Luke from the beginning of the ministry 
down to the Passion, and then at least the Sermon on 
the Mount and the Parables in St. Matthew. What 
follows represents my often-renewed impression of 
such readings, of the justice of which my readers 
must judge. 

To speak in the most general terms, I submit that 
whatever previous ideas may have been in the minds 
of these disciples concerning the purpose of God for 
Israel, and concerning His kingdom and the Christ 
who was to come, were quite overwhelmed by a 
new influence or impression which threw everything 
else into the background the overwhelming im- 
pression of the person of Jesus " the Son of Man," 
or " the Man," as He called Himself. 

I do not think it is possible to doubt (1) that the 
evangelists intend to convey the impression that 
Jesus, habitually from the beginning of His ministry, 
called Himself the Son of Man. 1 

(2) That He really so called Himself. Seeing that, 
except on one occasion, when Stephen, at the moment 
of his martyrdom, calls Jesus the Son of Man, with 
obvious reference to His own words before the San- 
hedrin (Mark xiv 62), the first Christians, according 

1 See Beginnings, pp. 3747 : " The opinion of the writers of 
the GospeJs is thus clear that Jesus used the phrase ; that he 
used it of Himself." *' The writers understand Jesus to refer to 
Himself. 1 * So also Bousset, Kyrios Christos, pp. 5 ff. 


to the evidence, did not use this title of their Lord 
at all, or in addressing Him, it seems the extreme of 
perversity to maintain that the attribution of the 
title to Jesus is due to the early community, 1 and 
that He probably did not in fact use the title as a 
designation of Himself. 

(3) That, whereas after Peter's confession of His 
Messiahship, the title acquires in the mouth of Jesus 
a quite distinctive Messianic significance, it was as 
first used by Him plainly not intended or understood 
in a Messianic sense at all. For we are repeatedly 
told that Jesus was refusing to make any public 
claim to be the Messiah. The Aramaic word, trans- 
lated Son of Man, would apparently have meant 
simply " the man." Its use by Jesus may be com- 
pared to its frequent use in the case of Ezechiel as 
the name by which the divine voice called him. 
There it signifies that he is a man, and also a man 
singled out for a special vocation. 2 So also in Ps. 
viii 4 it represents mankind viewed, as we may say, 
in the ideal. I suppose when our Lord first so called 
Himself, quite without reference to Messianic dis- 
tinction or glory, 3 He meant His hearers to think of 
Him as " the man " in some specially representative 
sense, though I should shrink from such a modern- 
sounding phrase as " the ideal man." 

The Jews were distinguished by profound rever- 
ence for their teachers, who were primarily teachers 
of religion, and those who heard Jesus came very 
speedily to regard Him as a great teacher sent from 
God. They were impressed at starting by the novelty 
of His teaching. " What is this ? " men cried out. 
" A new teaching ! " 4 Already they had heard what 
seemed a new teaching from John the Baptist. If in 

1 So Boueset and Kirsopp Lake. 

2 See Ezech. ii 1, iii 1, and constantly. 

3 Aa in Mark ii 10, 28, Luke vii 34, ix 58, x 10 (all from Q). 
Mark i 27. 


substance it was the teaching of the ancient prophets 
revived, yet, at least by contrast to what many 
generations of the people had received from their 
official guides, or by comparison with popular ideas 
about the Christ who was to come and the kingdom 
of God, it was very new teaching which they heard 
from John. And doubtless they were prepared for 
the like from Jesus. But what they heard for in- 
stance in the sermon given by St. Luke, or the longer 
version, the " Sermon on the Mount " in St. Matthew, 
or the teaching about the merely relative obligation 
of the Sabbath, or about the new wine which could 
not be put into old bottles, or about sin having its 
seat only in the heart the great saying of which 
St. Mark l says that it " cleansed all meats," or again 
our Lord's estimate of the absolute worth of every 
human soul all this no doubt struck in their hearts 
a profounder and richer note of novelty than any- 
thing said by John the Baptist. 2 

Moreover, we are bound to believe that some of 
the disciples at least were impressed sufficiently to 
be able to treasure the words of Jesus doubtless in 
many cases the often-repeated words and to repro- 
duce them accurately, with even sharp precision. 
This was in the Jewish schools the quite normal 
faculty of the pupils of any teacher. 3 We may be 
prepared to maintain against all corners that the 
reports in the Synoptic Gospels of the words of Jesus 
bear, with not much exception, the quite unmistak- 
able stamp of genuineness. This, I think, must be 
the verdict of the literary sense. Nevertheless, it 
is also quite apparent that the disciples had very 

1 St. Mark vii 19. 

* There are admirable modern accounts of the ethical teaching 
of our Lord, amongst which I still think Ecce Homo pre-eminent. 
But in this book I am concerned only with the estimate of our 
Lord's person and restrain myself from the consideration of His 

8 See Belief in God, pp. 191-2. 


little intelligent perception, during our Lord's human 
lifetime, of His meaning. They were capable of what 
we cannot but call stupid misunderstandings. They 
were even astonishingly dense, unimaginative, and 
unsympathetic. It would be quite untrue, we feel 
as we read, to interpret the influence of Jesus upon 
them as the influence of His teaching upon receptive 
pupils. It really was not in the main the substance 
of His teaching that was gradually making them 
new men. Unmistakably it was the commanding 
authority of His person and their unbounded faith 
in Him. 1 

Critics of the orthodox tradition are always re- 
proving the theologians for having overstated the 
prominence of the person, and the personal claim, 
of Jesus. " To lay down any ' doctrine ' about his 
person and his dignity, independently of the Gospel, 
was quite outside his sphere of ideas." 2 " He does 
not talk about himself." 3 The measure of truth in 
such statements we shall have to consider later. But 
let there be no mistake. The dominant influence of 
Jesus upon the disciples did not lie in anything that 
He taught them, whether about Himself or about God 
or about the kingdom of God, but in " The Man " 
Himself in the impression of overwhelming authority, 
certainly supernatural and " of God," resident in Him. 

It is this that constrains them at the beginning to 
leave all and follow Him. It is authority which 
expresses itself in His works of healing, especially, 
but not only, the healing of the possessed. The 
sense of it is vividly presented to us in the case of 

1 Simkhovitch, op. cit. p. 78, has a very good passage about the 
difference in powerful movements which stir mankind between 
faith in ideas and understanding of ideas : " Do not think for the 
moment that it is understanding of the ideas which moves man- 
kind ; it is their faith in the ideas." With the disciples it was not 
even yet faith in the ideas of Jesus. It was simply a bewildered 
confidence in Him. 

> Harnack, What is Christianity ? p. 129. 

3 Beginnings of Christianity, p. 288. 

CT IIAWVC r/>! ! C/"C 


one who was neither a disciple nor a Jew the 
Roman centurion who had been paying attention 
to Jesus, and had gained the conviction that He 
occupied in nature a position comparable to his own 
in the army. No doubt, that is to say, He was 
" under authority " the authority of God ; but 
within the sphere of His activity He could do as He 
willed with nature, as the centurion could with his 
subordinates. " With authority He commands," and 
it obeys Him. He speaks, and it is done. 1 So again 
it is that the ruler of the synagogue falls at His feet 
full of belief in His power. 2 That is the impression. 
His authority in working what we call miracles and 
what the Gospels call " powers " is paralleled by His 
moral authority. He taught as He worked, " as one 
having authority " of a divine kind in Himself. So 
as " the Man " He claims to forgive the sins of the 
paralytic and, to prove His right to do so, He heals 
his disease. And in teaching He does not generally, 
though He does at times, refer beyond Himself 
' This is the word of the Lord," or " Thus saith 
Scripture." Even in revising the divinely-given law 
of Sinai, it was enough to say " But I say unto you." 
Many moderns seem quite to underestimate or 
almost to ignore this overwhelming impression of 
authority. The disciples are being led to believe 
that in the physical world, though He will do nothing 
to help Himself, He can do anything to help those 
in need, or themselves, His companions. Such was 
doubtless the impression of His feeding of the five 
thousand out of so miserably inadequate a supply, or 
rescuing the disciples suddenly, when they roused Him 
out of sleep in the storm at sea. They were growing 
to believe that He would be equal to all the emer- 
gencies which might occur. And in the moral sphere 
His word was enough. They could not question it. 
And though He did not seem to know everything, yet 
i Matt, viii 5-13, Luke vii 1-10. Mark v 22. 


He had a strange power of reading men's hearts ; and 
at times He spoke as if He were the final judge of 
men, not only in view of their public acts but of their 
secret lives. In certain of the parables this assump- 
tion that He is the final judge is plain. 1 But it is 
implied elsewhere. We think of such a saying as 
" Many shall come to me in that day . . . then will 
I protest unto them, I never knew you." 2 Here what 
is implied, both in St. Matthew and St. Luke's 
version, is that nothing matters to a man at last 
except the judgment of Jesus on him, and that this 
judgment goes to the heart of the reality and cannot 
be misled by appearances or professions. So else- 
where we hear that to deny Him and be ashamed of 
Him here in this world means to be disowned by 
Him at last, and that that is the final disaster. 3 He 
is the ultimate judge. 

There are three other kindred features in the im- 
pression which our Lord plainly made on His disciples 
which we shall note. He spoke as being infallible. 
He was indeed as far as possible from being a dog- 
matic teacher who loved to teach men a secret lore 
ex cathedra. There was nothing about Him of this 
tone. And He did not shrink from telling the 
disciples of something which was not within His 
knowledge. But whatever He did teach, He taught 
as if it were certainly true, and (unlike the prophets 
who delivered a message from God) as if the fountain 

1 So most dramatically in Matt, xxv 19. I know that St, 
Matthew seerns at times to heighten the Messianic colouring of ou? 
Lord's sayings. But I agree with Sanday (The Life of Christ in 
Recent Research, p. 128, note 1) that it is wanton to doubt this 
parable. See also the Tares, Matt, xiii 41, and the Talents, 
Luke xix 1 1 and Matt, xxv 14. Dr. Rashdall, Conscience and Christ f 
p. 48, seeks to substantiate the doubt whether our Lord ever spoke 
of Himself as the actual judge. But the witness that He did i 
not only St. Matthew's. 

2 Matt, vii 22 ; cf. Luke xiii 24 L, which is vivid and clear in 
its implication. 

3 Mark viii 38, Luke ix 26, Matt, x 33 ; cf. Luke xxi 36 " To 
stand before the Son of Man." 


of truth was in Himself. " No man knoweth the 
Father save the Son and he to whomsoever the Son 
willeth to reveal Him." " Heaven and earth shall 
pass away, but my words shall not pass away." 
Secondly, there was not in His language the least 
trace of a sense of sinfulness, or even possible un- 
worthiness, such as has possessed at all times prophets 
and seers. Finally, there was an exclusiveness about 
His claim on men, as if He were not merely one of 
the representatives of God but in some profound 
sense the only one. He appears, indeed, to delegate 
to the Twelve and the Seventy authority to teach 
and to heal diseases, but this is in His name or in 
utter dependence on Him. In Himself He seems to 
brook no rival. " Come unto me," He says, " and 
I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and 
learn of me." " He that loveth father or mother 
more than me, is not worthy of me." " Follow me 
and let the dead bury their own dead." This sort 
of language seems to breathe nothing less than the 
divine jealousy over human souls. 

Now all this time questions were pending in the 
minds of the disciples as to who He was. There was 
some secret, some mystery, about His person. 

The report of the divine voice at the baptism, the 
story of the temptation in the wilderness which 
Jesus must at some time have communicated to 
them, the strange cries of the demoniacs " Thou 
art the Son of God the holy one of God," and their 
horror of Him as of some awful power, and also 
certain solemn and hardly intelligible words of His 
own, made them conscious of a mystery. There 
were names, "Son of Man," "Son of God," "Christ," 
which were in their ears and would have to be ex- 
plained. But while all this process of questioning 
was going on, something deeper was happening. 
Beyond all possibility of question, and seemingly by 
His own deliberate intention, Jesus, so far as they 


yielded their faith to Him, was taking the place of 
God, or in modern phrase gaining " the values of 
God," for their souls. Not all the values of God. 
They did not, I suppose, at that time dream of Him 
as the creator of the world and the ruler of the course 
of nature. No doubt they thought of Him as wholly 
under God. But within the sphere of their personal 
lives, He had been growing to have to them the 
values of God, as the object of their absolute faith, 
their infallible refuge and informer and protector 
and guide. 

This seems to me quite an irresistible impression. 
There is an old saying of unknown origin either 
Jesus Christ was God or He was not a good man 
which critics sometimes treat with great derision. I 
do not think it can be so derided. There is more 
in it than they seem to recognize. How could men 
be in the constant companionship of the Jesus of 
the Synoptic Gospels such as we have been seeking 
to describe Him, surely without exaggeration 
without coming to be in the attitude towards Him 
which is only legitimate towards God ? And was 
He not deliberately encouraging, and bringing about 
this attitude towards Himself in their souls ? Did 
He not exhibit the sort of exclusive claim which 
suggests nothing else but the " jealousy " of God ? 
And is it not the supreme sin of pride or arrogance 
for any man, even a commissioned prophet, to allow 
himself to assume this exclusive position ? Must 
not every commissioned servant be always crying 
" Send, O Lord, by whom thou wilt send ! Thou 
hast many messengers and all of them subject to 
error and weakness, I most of all " ? The implica- 
tion of infallible, exclusive authority which seems 
to inhere in the words and tone of Jesus does 
seem to me to express, if not the jealousy of God, 
then some such quality as lies at the heart of all 
spiritual tyranny and false sacerdotalism. 



We have now to consider the question of the 
person of Jesus from another point of view, that is, 
of the titles by which He was called or by which He 
called Himself. I have argued that if we regard 
the Synoptic Gospels as giving us good history, we 
must also regard it as certain that John the Baptist 
pointed to Jesus as the Christ who was to come, and 
did so on the ground, in part at least, of the divine 
voice heard by himself at the baptism of Jesus pro- 
claiming Him " the beloved Son in whom God was 
well pleased." The record of the baptism as given 
in the Gospels would have come, we should suppose, 
from John. Whether " the voice," either on this 
occasion or at the Transfiguration, was one which 
an indifferent by-stander would have heard with 
his ears, or whether it came, like " the word of the 
Lord " to the prophets, only to the spiritual hearing, 
we need not discuss, any more than the question 
whether the narrative of the temptation, which I 
suppose our Lord related to the Twelve, is 
intended as an allegoric expression of events which 
happened only in Christ's consciousness or as a 
record of outward events. 1 In either case it is 
certain that Jesus was believed by Himself and by 
John to have been divinely certified at His baptism 
as the Son of God and the temptation of Jesus in- 
volved His consciousness that He was so. 2 So 

1 Though, for myself, I can feel no doubt (with Origen) that the 
former is the true interpretation ; see Epistles of St. John, pp. 236-7. 

2 I see no sign whatever in the Gospels of any advance in our 
Lord's estimate of His own person. This idea, which is constantly 
asserted, as if it were to be taken for granted, may or may not be 
open to theological objection, but the question need not be raised. 
There is no evidence. And whether the word of God at the 
baptism, " In thee I have been well pleased " (euSo/crjo-o), refers 
to the past of the human life of Jesus or to the " eternal past " or to 
the Christ as prefigured in prophecy, it certainly does not support 
the idea that the moment of baptism made any difference to His 
Sonship. The " Western " reading of St. Luke iii 22, " Thou art 


says the only story we have of His childhood the 
scene in the Temple when He was twelve years old 
" Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's 
business," or "in my Father's house." It follows 
that those who received the testimony of John and 
Jesus believed Him to be truly, in some sense, the 
Son of God, and when they heard the demoniacs 
so hailing Him and heard Jesus seeking to silence 
them, they must have felt that there was mystery 
attaching to this title ; but on the whole, they 
probably simply identified it in meaning with the 
Christ, the king of David's line in whom God's 
promises to Israel were to be fulfilled, neither more 
nor less. It would not appear that till St. Paul 
comes on the scene the Church generally realized 
its true significance. 1 It is true that there is no 
evidence of the title Son of God being used in the 
later Jewish literature of the Christ, but it was 
twice used of the Son of David or of David in the 
Psalms 2 and of the righteous man in the Book of 
Wisdom, 3 and the evidence appears to be conclusive 
that the disciples took it as meaning no more than 
the Christ. 4 

my beloved son ; on this day have I begotten tliee," is surely due 
to a reminiscence of Ps. ii 7. 

1 See later, pp. 7Sff. 

* Ps. ii (which is treated as Messianic in the Psalms of Solomon) 
verses 7 and (perhaps) 12, and Ixxxix 26-7. See Dalman's Words 
of Jesus (Eng. trans.), pp. 268 ft 

a Wisdom ii 16, 18. 

So it appears to have been understood when the demoniacs 
hailed Him by the title " Son of God," in Mark iii 11, v 7 ; cf. 
Matt, viii 29, Luke viii 28 : "He suffered not the devils to speak 
because they knew him " i.e. knew Him as Christ ; cf. Luke 
iv 41, where, after the exclamation " Thou art the Son of God," 
is the explanation " They knew that he was the Christ." So at 
the trial, Matt, xxvi 63, and parallels in Mark and Luke ; and 
when our Lord is mocked upon the Cross (see Matt, xxvii 40-3 ; 
cf. Mark xv 32). St. Matthew seems to represent the disciples as 
identifying " Son of God " with Christ hi the confession of Peter, 
xvi 15. The same appears to be the representation of John i 49. 
The " King of Israel " is the synonym for " the Son of God." 


This, however, is by no means true of the sense 
in which our Lord used it of Himself. The great 
passage, " No one knoweth the Son save the Father : 
neither doth any know the Father save the Son," 
which occurs in both St. Matthew and St. Luke, 
and with its wonderful context is authentic beyond 
reasonable dispute, asserts a relationship of mutual 
knowledge between Father and Son which suggests 
something essential and eternal. 1 So the phrase 
" Of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even 
the angels in heaven, neither the Son," 2 which again 
must surely be authentic, because no later believer 
would have attributed such limitation of knowledge 
to the Christ, suggests at least a super-angelic son- 
ship. Once more in the parable of the husbandmen 
Jesus distinguishes Himself as the only Son sharply 
from all the other messengers of God. 3 As I have 
said, it would not appear as if these utterances made 
much impression at the time. The thoughts of the 

i Matt, xi 27, Luke x 22. See Dalmaii, pp. 283, 285: "But 
in this case of mutual understanding, its thoroughness [i.e. 
the thoroughness of mutual knowledge] and absolute infallibility 
are assumed. He who stands in so uniquely close a relation to 
God is the only possible mediator of the kind, and also at the same 
time the absolutely reliable revealer of the whole wealth of the 
divine mysteries." . . . " The passages appear to imply that Jesua 
had shown 110 cognizance of any beginning in this relationship. 
It seems to be an innate property of His personality." See also 
Harnack, Sayings of Jesu# (Eng. trans., Williams and Norgate), 
p. 302. " A formal likeness of Father and Son, who are distin- 
guished only by the different names, and a relationship of Father 
and Son which never had a beginning, but remains ever the same," 
is here expressed. This is unacceptable to Harnack and, quite 
arbitrarily, he omits part of the text. Other writers make the whole 
passage the work of a later Jewish Christian prophet, basing himself 
on Ecclus. li 1, 23, 26, 27. But this sort of criticism can dissolve 
any evidence. I shall recur to the passage later (see pp. 89 f, 109 f). 

We notice that our Lord never speaks to the disciples of "our 
Father,'* except in giving them for their use the Lord's Prayer. 
He speaks of " your Father," or " the Father," and of " my 
Father." This appears with express emphasis in John xx 17. 
But it is apparent also in the Synoptists, 

3 Matt, xiii 32 and Matt, xxiv 30 (R.V.). 

3 Mark xii 6 ; also Matthew and Luke. 


disciples were confined to the question, Is he the 
Christ ? But they have survived among our Lord's 
most indisputable words, and they seem to me to 
bear beyond question the sense of a sonship unique, 
superhuman and essential. There is not really much 
difference between what they involve and what is 
taught in the discourses of St. John. 

It is profoundly characteristic of what I have 
called our Lord's undogmatic method that He should 
have uttered these solemn sayings w r hich seem 
to open out such momentous glimpses into the 
mystery of His personality but, as it were, in- 
cidentally or by implication only, and left them 
as germs to fertilize later in men's minds. So with 
regard to His being the Christ, though in that case 
there were many suggestions from without, He chose 
that the conviction of His messiahship should mature 
in their own minds and become a confession of their 
own lips, not something dictated to them by Him. 
Thus, under circumstances of deepening anxiety, 
and in or near a city the very name of which 
Caesarea Philippi spoke of alien and foreign in- 
fluences repugnant to the heart of every Jew, He 
asked them the question, " Who do men say that 
I am ? " and then pressed home upon them the more 
searching question, " But who do ye say that I 
am ? " and Peter replied with the great confession, 
" Thou art the Christ." It was a decisive moment, 
and it strikes us as most natural that our Lord 
should have signalized the greatness of the moment 
by meeting the confession with the solemn and 
rich benediction which Matthew alone records : 
" Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for this is 
not anything thou hast learnt by human influence. 
It is a real disclosure made by my heavenly Father 
in thy souL It is a conviction wrought in thee 
by God." 

Henceforth, though the world is not at present to 


know it, the secret that Jesus is the Christ is an open 
secret in the apostolic company, and Jesus proceeds 
at once to build upon it in the way most calculated to 
test them and terrify them. " From that time began 
Jesus to show unto His disciples, how that he must 
go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the 
elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed 
and the third day be raised up." This prophecy 
is made " openly " and repeated again and again. 1 
The ideas suggested were profoundly contrary 
to the vague and elastic, but always glorious and 
radiant, ideas of the Messianic king which the Jews, 
and the disciples amongst them, entertained. They 
had all along had cause for anxiety as to whether 
the crowds drawn by the " powers " and by the 
words of their Master were the prelude to His real 
triumph. It was quite plain that there was a wide 
interval between welcoming His words and wonderful 
benefits and really obeying from the heart His search- 
ing doctrine. Of the latter there was no sign on any 
large scale. And the leaders of the nation appeared 
to be all against Him. Nevertheless there had been 
something radiant and triumphant about their earlier 
experiences with Him in Galilee. Nothing less is 
implied in the description which Jesus gave of His 
company, in explanation of their having no special 
fasts of their own, such as the Pharisees had, and 
John's disciples. He compared them to a happy 
band of friends round a bridegroom in the moment of 
his joy and triumph. No doubt He struck the note 
of loss and sorrow to come " The days will come 
when the bridegroom shall be taken away from 
them " but the present scenery is painted in radiant 
colours. It might be a fitting prelude for the glorious 
days of the Messiah. But anxiety had deepened ; 
and now, just when they had given full expression 
to their faith that He verily was the Christ, He let 

1 Mark viii 31, ix 12, 31, x 33-4. 


the blow fall upon them in all its weight, and drove 
it down upon them again and again. The way of 
the Christ was to be the way of the Cross, the way of 
failure and death. And Peter's impulsive protest 
brought upon him the sternest rebuke " Get thee 
behind me, Satan ! " 

We cannot doubt that this profound change in the 
idea of the Christ was effected by our Lord's identi- 
fying Himself, the Son of Man, with the Suffering 
Servant of Jehovah in the later Isaiah. In these 
wonderful chapters (Is. xl onward) " the servant of 
Jehovah " is first Israel in general (xli 8 f.), and then 
apparently the select remnant of the people, who 
alone are the true Israel (xlix 1-3), through whom 
alone the purpose of God can realize itself. But 
though no doubt the prophet begins by using " the 
Servant " as a personification of the nation or group 
within the nation, yet he appears to be carried away 
as he contemplates the Servant to think of him as a 
real person who is by his obedience and his unde- 
served sufferings and death to win the redemption 
of " the many." We feel this already in earlier 
passages, 1 but the impression becomes overwhelming 
in the familiar passage (Hi 13 and liii), which sounds 
to us for the most part, as we hear it, as simply the 
history of the passion of Jesus written beforehand. 
I will present the passage in Dr. Driver's careful 
analysis 2 : 

The preface in cap. lii 13-15 describes " the ideal 
servant's exaltation after an antecedent period of humilia- 
tion and distress." Then this is developed in cap. liii. 
The first part (1-9) presents " three several stages in 
the ideal Servant's humiliation : the persons speaking 
are the Israelites, represented as at length perceiving 
the truth to which they had before been blind, and 

1 E.g. 1 4-10. 

2 Isaiah, his Life andJTimea (Nisbet), pp. 152-5, very slightly 


reviewing the period of their incredulity. First, in spite 
of the prophetic report, or message, pointing to him, 
few or none, they say, amongst his nation recognized 
him : he had no outward grace, or beauty of form, 
attracting attention ; he grew up in their midst like some 
mean or lowly shrub, struggling to maintain itself in 
an arid soil : men despised him, and even held aloof 
from him in aversion. In truth, however," [so they pro- 
ceed to confess], they themselves were the occasion of 
his distressed appearance : "he was bearing the conse- 
quences of our sins, although we in our blindness imagined 
him to be stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted " 
i.e. smitten, as by a divine judgment, for some heinous 
offence " whereas, in fact, it was we who had gone 
astray, and the penalty, instead of recoiling upon us, 
lighted in its entirety upon him. So far from being 
guilty himself, he bore the guilt of others and relieved 
them of its penal consequences. Though he suffered 
willingly, and made no answer to his accusers, he was 
still oppressed : first imprisoned by an unjust sentence, 
he was afterwards led away to execution, not one among 
his contemporaries considering that he was thus cut off, 
not for his own sins, but for those of the people. In 
spite of the innocence of his life, his death was that of 
a malefactor and his end inglorious." 

[The final paragraph, however, reverses the character 
of the scene and introduces the promise for the future.] 
" It was Jehovah's pleasure thus to bruise him : but out 
of death will spring a new life : after his soul has been 
made a guilt offering, he will live again, enjoy long life, 
and be rewarded with the satisfaction of seeing God's 
work, or ' pleasure ' prosper in his hand. Possessed of 
an intimate ' knowledge ' of the dealings and purposes 
of God, he will l justify the many,' whilst his final reward 
for having submitted to the death of a transgressor will 
be that he will be ranked as a conqueror and honoured 
among the great ones of the earth : inasmuch as ' he bore 
the sins of the many and made intercession for the trans- 
gressors.' ' 

This astonishing vision of the prophet appears to 
have made little or no permanent impression on the 


imagination of Israel. 1 Its idea of kingship quite 
escaped them. They never identified the glorious 
Messiah with the Suffering Servant. This was the 
work of Jesus. Some modern critics have ventured 
to doubt whether Jesus shows the influence of this 
prophecy. But, I think, quite unreasonably. Two 
points seem to prove it : (1) that our Lord plainly 
regards the sufferings of the Christ and His death 
as necessary because prefigured in Scripture. 2 " How 
is it written of the Son of Man ? " " The Son of 
Man goeth as it is written of Him." " How, then, 
should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must 
be ? " And the same intense conviction of prophecy 
and fulfilment appears in the earliest Church, 8 and 
it appears from the beginning associated with the 
figure of the " servant of Jehovah." 4 Indeed it 
could hardly have been otherwise, for, though the 
Old Testament may provide types and suggestions 
of the idea of a suffering Christ, it contains nothing 
which can be compared with Isaiah liii in vividness 
and impressiveness. 

(2) Our Lord seems plainly to identify Himself 
with " the Servant," when He quotes from the 
" Servant " section of Isaiah to interpret His mission 
at Nazareth, 5 and St. Luke also represents Him 

1 It left apparent traces on certain psalms and on the books of 
Job and Maccabees (see below, pp. 285 f ), but it never became recog- 
nized for its importance in the Jewish tradition. In the Targum 
on Is. liii, which haa recently been translated by the Rev. R. B. 
Aytoun (see J.T.S., Jan. 1922, pp. 179-80), the Servant is inter- 
preted of the Messiah, but, by a violent perversion of the sense of 
the passage, all the marks of ignominy and shame are diverted from 
him upon his people and his adversaries. This is a most curious 

1 Mark ix 12, cf. Matt, xxvi 24, 54, 56, Luke xviii 31, xxiv 
25-7, 46. 

3 1 Cor. xv 3, Acts ii 23, xvii 2-3, xxvi 22-3, 1 Peter i 10-11. 

4 See Acts iii 13 " His servant Jesus," and 26, and iv 27, 30 
" Thy holy servant Jesus." So Philip expounds to the eunuch, 
viii 31 ff. So 1 Peter ii 21 ff. and Matt, viii 17. 

6 Luke iv 1 8, from Is. Ixi. Driver is surely right in representing 
these words as put in the mouth of the Servant. 


as quoting of His own end the words concerning the 
Servant, " He was reckoned with transgressors." l 
But perhaps more convincing in their originality 
are the two passages in St. Mark where our 
Lord speaks of Himself as to give His life a 
" ransom Jor many" and of the cup, at the Last 
Supper, as " this is my blood of the covenant which 
is shed Jor many." 2 It does not seem to me to be 
doubtful that this " for many," twice repeated, is a 
reference to Isaiah liii. " My righteous servant shall 
justify many" " He bare the sin of man?/." 3 This 
is all the more noticeable because the significance 
of the precise word does not seem to have been 
perceived, so that it has vanished from the versions 
of St. Luke and St. Paul. 

Our Lord then, who was plainly set radically to 
revise the conception of the Christ, and who, though 
He did not disclaim His Davidic descent, yet was 
manifestly anxious not to emphasize it, 4 deeply 
involved as it was in ideas of temporal sovereignty, 
sought to effect His purpose by identifying the 
Christ, as no one had done before Plim, 5 with the 
Suffering Servant, and that by associating both with 
the title He had chosen for Himself the Son of 
Man or the Man. Henceforth the Man, the Christ, 
and the Suffering Servant are the same person. And 
one more step had to be taken to complete our 
Lord's profoundly new doctrine of the Christ, and 
that was, as the sequel to suffering and death, to 

1 Luke xxii 37. 

2 Mark x 46, xiv 24 ; so also in St. Matthew, cf. Heb. ix 28, Rom. 
v 15. 

3 Is. liii 11, 12. In the LXX the word 7roA\o?s, TTO\\OVS, TTO\\WV 
recurs three times. Also as one reads the LXX of Is. liii 12 
nap*$6dr) t!s Qavarov it is difficult to doubt that this phrase pro- 
moted the constant use of this verb in connection with our Lord's 
betrayal and surrender to death. 

4 On our Lord's Davidic descent as a real fact, see Dalman, 
op. cit. pp. 316ff. 

6 Unless, indeed, John the Baptist : see John i 29. 


introduce in a new form, what was already suggested 
in Isaiah liii, the idea of resurrection and glory. In 
a new form for He identified the Christ with the 
figure of glorified manhood in the visions of Daniel. 

The passage has been already quoted and its 
original sense explained. It is an image of the 
people of God, by the side of the world-empires 
imaged in the four great beasts " And I saw in the 
night visions, and behold there came with the clouds 
of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came 
even to the Ancient of Days. . . . And there was 
given him dominion and glory and a kingdom, that 
all the people, nations and languages should serve 
him ; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which 
shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which 
shall not be destroyed." Now, I have already 
explained how probably before our Lord's time, in 
the Similitudes of the Book of Enoch, this figure of 
the chosen people was converted into the figure of 
a heavenly being, " The Elect One," pre-existing in 
the heavens, who at the end of the world was to 
be manifested in glory as the agent of divine judg- 
ment, seated on the very throne of God. This 
being, first described as in countenance like a man 
and possibly called " The Son of Man," l is the 
"Anointed One," and, as one may say, is a sub- 
stitute for the old prophetic Messiah. This is a 
truer expression than to say He is identified with the 
Messiah, for He has no connection with any earthly 
son of David in the imagination of the Apocalyptic 
writer. Now I have insisted that it must be 
regarded as certain that "The 'Son of Man" was 
not a term which for the crowd or the disciples 
carried with it Messianic associations w r hen our 
Lord first used it. It was our Lord who first for 
them identified the Son of Man both with the 
Suffering Servant and with the Christ, the Son of 
1 For doubts on this subject see above, p. 31. 


David. But I think it is most probable that the 
Book of Enoch had already interpreted the human 
figure in Daniel as being not an image of the nation, 
but a mysterious person, who is to be manifested in the 
clouds as God's vice-gerent in judgment at the end 
of the world, and had given this interpretation of 
Daniel such currency that our Lord can use it as a 
means of extending the meaning of His own title, 
the Son of Man,* and giving to the conception of the 
Christ its new meaning. 1 

We had better have before us the Pharisee's con- 
ception of the Christ to come and the Apocalyptic 
conception of the Son of Man, that we may see 
how our Lord both fused and remodelled them. 

We take the Psalms of Solomon, dating from a 
Pharisaic source about a generation before our 
Lord's birth, and in the 17th Psalm we find this 
account of the Christ : 

" Behold, O Lord, and raise up unto them their king, 
the Son of David, at the time which thou sawest, 
O God, that he may reign over Israel, thy servant, 
and gird him with strength that he may shatter 
unrighteous rulers. Purge Jerusalem from nations that 
trample her down to destruction. . . . He will not 
suffer unrighteousness to lodge any more in the midst 
of his people ; nor shall there dwell with them any man 
that knoweth wickedness ; for he shall know them, 
that they are all sons of their God. and he shall distribute 
them in their tribes upon the earth, and no sojourner or 
foreigner shall sojourn any more among them." 2 

This is the old prophetic vision, only without any 
of the wide hope which is found in many of the old 
prophets for all the nations of the earth. There is 
in this Psalm nothing but destruction for the heathen. 

1 It must be remembered that on all showing the Jewish Messianic 
ideas were confused and vague. Our Lord seems first to have given 
them spiritual coherence. 

2 Psalms of Solomon, xvii 23-5, 29-31. 


And the method of the Christ-King is to be the 
method of the ruthless conqueror. We have seen 
already how utterly our Lord repudiated any such 
conception of the office of the Christ, and both pro- 
foundly spiritualized and universalized the concep- 
tion of the Kingdom. He went back to the noblest 
form of the ancient vision, and far beyond it. 

Then let us take the Apocalyptic conception of 
the Elect One from the Similitudes of Enoch, based 
manifestly on the vision of the Book of Daniel. 

" And there I saw one who had a head of days, and 
His head was white like wool, and with Him was another 
being whose countenance had the appearance of a man, 
and his face was full of graciousness like one of the holy 
angels. And I asked the angel who went with me and 
showed me all the hidden things, concerning that Son of 
Man, who he was, and whence he was, and why he went 
with the Head of Days. And he answered and said 
unto me : This is the Son of Man who hath righteous- 
ness, with whom dwelleth righteousness, and who re- 
vealeth all the treasures of that which is hidden. . . . 
And this Son of Man whom thou hast seen . . . shall 
loosen the loins of the strong and break the teeth of the 
sinners . . . and darkness shall be their dwelling, and 
worms shall be their bed . . . because they do not 
extol the name of the Lord of spirits." " At that hour 
the Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord 
of Spirits, and his name before the Head of Days. . . . 
He shall be the staff to the righteous whereon to stay 
themselves and not fall, and he shall be the light of the 
Gentiles, and the hope of those who are troubled in 
heart. . . . And he hath been chosen and hidden before 
Him, before the creation of the world and for evermore." 
" And he sat on the throne of his glory, and the sum of 
judgment was given unto the Son of Man, and he caused 
the sinners to pass away and be destroyed from off the 
face of the earth, and those who have led the world 
astray." 1 

l The Book of Enoch (Dr. Charles's translation), xlvi, xlviii 
2, 4, 6, hdx 27. 


If this, as seems probable, is really a writing 
which dates before the time of our Lord, and the 
passages just quoted are not, as a whole, Christian 
interpolations, 1 which again seems probable, we need 
not doubt that this interpretation of Daniel's, " one 
like unto a son of man," who came with the clouds 
of heaven and was brought near to the Ancient of 
Days and given, universal and everlasting dominion 
and glory and a kingdom, 2 was known to our Lord 
and used by Him. But He transformed completely 
the whole basis of the conception of the " Elect 
One," who in Enoch is a purely celestial figure, 
angelic rather than human. In our Lord's use of 
the figure, he is first of all the man born of a woman 
and living the human life among His fellows ; then 
the suffering " Servant of Jehovah," who wins re- 
demption for the many by the sacrifice of His life ; 
and so only passes to resurrection and glory and 
the awful dignity of the judge of the world. It is 
on this basis that the note of resurrection and glory 
and power is sounded in the ears of the disciples, 
side by side with the note of suffering. " The third 
day he shall rise again." And they are to " see the 
Son of Man coming in the glory of His Father with 
the holy angels." 3 

This, then, is the conclusion of our enquiry. The 
conception of the Messiah which Jesus caused to 
grow in the minds of the disciples was profoundly 
original in the sense that it took up all the elements 
of ancient prophecy and recent interpretation, and 

1 See Dalman, op. cit. p. 243 : "A Christian interpolator should 
above all things have made it clear in some way that the Son of 
Man coming in judgment was Jesus of Nazareth. But the Son of 
Man in this case appears never to have been upon earth, far less 
to have passed through the state of death." See, however, above 
p. 31, for the title Son of Man. 

Dan. vii 13-14. 

3 Mark viii 31, 38, xiv 62. On the esohatological teaching of our 
Lord and the question of its relation to reality see at length 
pp. 135ff. 


combined them in a whole in His own person in 
a whole which, while it realized their best spirit, 
was quite remote from the expectations of His 
contemporaries. According to Jesus' teaching, the 
Messiahship had its basis in His humble and patient 
manhood, and it was to have its centre in His 
rejection and suffering and crucifixion, and its 
vindication in His resurrection and in the mission 
of His Spirit (for the resurrection of the dead and 
the effusion of the Spirit were, as we have seen, 
elements in the ancient prophecies of the Messianic 
days), and it was to find its consummation in His 
Lordship in heaven and in His coming to judge the 
quick and,dead. 

But in spite of the special help given to them in 
the vision of the Transfiguration, the disciples had 
at present no ears for the note of glory beyond 
humiliation and through it. They could only attend 
to the announcements of utter shame and rejection 
and death. Not only did He speak to them of His 
own death, but of the death of their national hopes. 
He told them quite plainly that Jerusalem was 
doomed, 1 and that their city and temple would be 
destroyed ; and He bade them accept this utter 
seeming failure, both of Him, their Master, and of 
all that their patriotic hearts held dear, as some- 
thing inevitable and necessary for the kingdom to 
come. 2 It was too much for them. It stirred in 
their minds a despondency and repulsion which 
overcame even their loyalty and their faith in Him. 

There is hardly any tragedy in history which 
moves us more than the failure of the disciples. 
But it was a temporary tragedy. Their failure 
became an element in their strength and power. 
Their faith in Jesus lived again, and took form and 
glory after their recovery, and in the next chapter 

1 On this Bee below, pp. 146ff. 
Luke xxi 28. 


we shall trace its course. What we have done so 
far is to recognize that, quite apart from their ideas 
about the person of Jesus their Master, which were 
no doubt vague and uncertain, quite apart even 
from the new conception of the Christ which Jesus 
had planted in their reluctant souls to bear fruit 
after their temporary failure, there was another and 
deeper impression which they could not shake off. 
They had been keeping company with one who, 
deliberately as it seemed, had come to occupy 
towards their souls a place of authority which is 
practically God's place. He had come to have for them 
the values of God. We can conceive nothing further 
from the method of Jesus than that He should 
have startled and shocked their consciences by pro- 
claiming Himself as God. But He had done some- 
thing which in the long run would make any other 
estimate of Him hardly possible. 

NOTE (to p. 45) 
On the Relation of John the Baptist to Jesus 

We need not dwell upon the small differences of detail 
between the first three evangelists in their accounts of 
the circumstances of the baptism of Jesus and His recog- 
nition by John as the Christ. But the Fourth Gospel 
makes a great deal of John's testimony to Jesus as the 
Son of God, by which he appears to mean simply the 
Christ (see i 8, 26, 32-5, iii 22-30, v 33, x 41). John 
is also there represented as calling Him " the Lamb of 
God which taketh away the sins of the world," thus 
identifying Him with the Suffering Servant of Jehovah of 
Is. liii ; and it alone records, what is very interesting, 
that some five of the apostles had been previously 
disciples of John and had been directed by John to Jesus, 
and had in some sense become His disciples then and 
there, and had acknowledged Him for the Christ (John 
i 35-51), and had had some profound experiences of 
Him before the end of John's ministry and their call 


to be " fishers of men " (John ii and iii 22). I do not 
think all this is at all impossible. As Dr. Holland points 
out, 1 their early confession that Jesus was the Christ, 
or " the Son of God, the King of Israel," was an echo of 
the popular Jewish hope which their subsequent experi- 
ence obliterated, so that they had to rediscover His 
Messiahship in a quite new sense. Nor do I see any- 
thing improbable in John having, perhaps first among 
the Jews, identified the Suffering Servant with the Christ. 
I think we have in these additions to the story of the 
Synoptists genuine memories. See Burney, Aramaic 
Origin of the Fourth Gospel, pp. 104 ff. 

It is worth noticing that the record of the divine voice 
at the baptism is given by all the Synoptists as " This is 
my beloved son in whom I was " or "I have been well 
pleased." This makes it plain that none of them regard 
the Sonship as dating from the baptism, though I think 
that to the consciousness of John (but not to that of 
Jesus), as to the rest of the Jews, the term at that time 
meant no more and no less than the Christ. This idea 
of the Christ must have come from Ps. ii 7 and 
Ixxxix 26. 

As a result of his preaching and baptism " the disciples 
of John " appear to have constituted a distinctive 
fraternity, whom John bound together by special rules. 
He taught them to pray and to observe special fasts, 
and " on some points of ceremonial he may have had 
tenets of his own " (see Luke xi 1, v 33, John iii 15 ; 
cf. Acts xviii 25, xix 3-4; and see Latham's Pastor 
Pastorum, p. 155). But it does not appear clearly in the 
Acts how much they understood " concerning Jesus.' 1 

1 In The Philosophy oj Faith and the Fourth Gospel (Murray, 1921), 
pp. 172 f. 



IT would seem that all the effort of Jesus was directed, 
in the latter part of His ministry, to the training of 
the Twelve, and especially to the preparation of 
their minds to welcome the principle of sacrifice, and 
withstand the shock of the Cross. 1 Crucifixion in 
the Roman provinces was an exceedingly common 
punishment. The spectacle of men bearing the cross- 
beam to their place of punishment would have been 
familiar enough. But to the heart of the Jewish 
nation it must have been the symbol of subjection 
and ignominy. And to the natural heart of the 
disciples the course which Jesus, whom they had 
confessed to be the Christ, had, as it appeared, so 
deliberately chosen, seemed doubtless an intolerable 
betrayal. There was, indeed, at the last hour one 
moment of seeming triumph ; for Jesus, who was so 
reluctant to figure as the Son of David, because of 
the false associations of royalty implied in the title, 
accepted it from the blind beggar Bartimaeus on His 
way to Jerusalem, and later consented to be hailed 
as King by a mixed crowd, in a momentary fit of 

1 Crucifixion was the ordinary Roman punishment for persons 
supposed to be dangerous to the Empire, see Hastings' Diet, of 
the Bible, i, p. 628. After the death of Herod the Great Josephus 
(B.J. ii v 3) tells us that Varus crucified 2000 rioters at one 
time, cf. ii xii 6, xiii 2, xiv 9; also (v xi 1) that, at the destruction 
of Jerusalem, the crucifixions inflicted by Titus were so constant 
and numerous that there was neither room for the crosses nor 
wood to make them. 



enthusiasm, at His entry into Jerusalem. 1 And if 
the cleansing of the temple occurred immediately 
afterwards, 2 that was another triumph, which would 
have raised the spirits of the disciples. It would have 
seemed for the moment as if He was now going to 
assert His power. But this brief elevation of spirits 
was followed by the warnings of immediate betrayal 
and death, and it became plain that not all that 
Jesus could do had availed at all to inspire into the 
disciples' minds the acceptance of the Cross. 

There is no tragedy in history more moving than 
the rejection of Christ all the more that it was not 
due to any extraordinary wickedness in the Jews 
or the Romans, but to the ordinary motives of men. 
In the Sadducean family of Annas it was due to 
the selfish determination to uphold by all means 
their own precarious position of authority, dignity 
and wealth, under the Roman sovereignty, and to 
suppress every movement that might make the 
Romans jealous ; in the Pharisees, to their refusal, 
at the bidding of one who was in their eyes the merest 
layman, to acknowledge profound mistakes, and to 
think over again from the beginning what was the 
meaning of the religion of which they were the 
orthodox representatives ; in the mass of the people 
to their worldly preoccupation of mind and their 
stubborn nationalism, which made them entertain 
wild hopes, and blinded them to the spiritual " way" 
of redemption which Jesus presented to them ; in 
Pilate, to the refusal to do what very few Roman 
governors would have dreamed of doing to prefer 
abstract justice, in the case of an impotent individual, 
to the apparent interests of the Empire and himself. 

1 I cannot but think that St. John's explanation of the fit of 
enthusiasm by the excitement due to the raising of Lazarus (xii 
9-19) is the only explanation of it which makes it at the moment 
intelligible. In the Synoptists taken alone it appears unaccountable. 

2 St. John, however, puts it at the beginning of the ministry. 
I think it is not improbable that it occurred twice. 


Such refusals and obsessions are all around us every 
day. They constitute the common atmosphere of 
society, certainly in our own time as much as of 
old. The mind of the ecclesiastical authorities, as 
exhibited in Church history towards " unauthorized " 
prophets, constantly recalls the Pharisees. The atti- 
tude of politicians and men of business and governing 
classes towards moral principles constantly recalls 
the Sadducees and Pilate. The attitude of popular 
movements constantly recalls " the common people " 
of Jerusalem and Galilee. It is the tragedy of human 
life from the point of view of the believer in God. God 
comes unto His own and His own receive Him not. 

And if the most tragic feature in the whole situa- 
tion is the failure of the Twelve if we can hardly 
bear to read the story of Peter's denial yet we must 
not be scornful. The doctrine which they were 
required to embrace was a very new one* contrary 
always to flesh and blood, but to none so contrary 
as to the Jews. It is not easy to realize the depth 
of the requirement which our Lord made upon His 
disciples' hearts and minds when He bade them not 
only contemplate His own seeming failure and death, 
but also anticipate the doom which He so solemnly 
pronounced upon their nation and city and temple, 
and be prepared to witness its accomplishment even 
with joy, as the necessary prelude of the kingdom of 
God. 1 No one, Jew or Gentile, can know his own mind 
or the mind of men and women in general without 
recognizing that the real strain on faith is the spectacle 
of the present seeming weakness of God and of good, 
which no prospect of future reversal seems able to 
counterbalance. Truly God " delivers His strength 
into captivity and His glory into the enemies' hands." 2 

1 Luke xxi 28-31. 

1 Ps. Ixxviii 61 (Bible version). The reference is to the capture 
of the Ark of God. Our Prayer Book version, "their power . . . 
and their beauty," is a mistake. 


But a few weeks after the crucifixion and en- 
tombment of Jesus, the company of " the brethren," 
numbering one hundred and twenty persons, and 
centering upon the Twelve, are presented to us in the 
beginning of the Acts in a wholly different frame of 
mind. They are now radiant and confident, and are 
prepared to face an even world-wide mission, appar- 
ently of a most desperate kind, and to challenge the 
world, with a clear understanding at least of the 
ground of their mission. I have contended in the 
volume which preceded this, 1 that nothing can satis- 
factorily account for their sudden, complete and 
corporate change of mind, except a certain series of 
facts, some of which are recorded in detail by the 
Evangelists, and which are summarized at an earlier 
date by St. Paul 2 that is the rinding of the tomb 
of Jesus empty on the third day, and His repeated 
appearances afterwards, with a humanity strangely 
changed in physical condition, but still the same 
which had assured them, beyond possibility of mis- 
take, of His actual resurrection from the dead. On 
the fortieth day after the Resurrection St. Luke 
records that these appearances came to an end with 
the Ascension, 3 which after another ten days was 
followed by the promised effusion of the Holy Spirit. 
I do not propose to go again over the ground of the 

1 Belief in God, pp. 262 ff. 

8 Edward Meyer, Ursprung, pp. 11-12, writes: "The bodily 
resurrection of Jesus and His numerous appearances before the 
disciples belong to the oldest traditions and those that were earliest 
fixed in a definite formula. Paul received this formula after his 
conversion in his period of instruction (Lehrzeit), and reproduced 
it in 1 Cor. xv. . . . That Paul says ' Kephas ' not * Peter ' 
is a proof that the formula . . . was originally composed in 

3 There seems to me to be no adequate ground for the assumption 
of Meyer (op. cit.. vol. i. pp. 40 ff.) that the narrative of the Ascension 
is an interpolation. 


wt evidences " of these events having actually occurred. 
Without in any way blinding ourselves to difficulties 
or discrepancies of detail between our authorities 
such as occur in all original testimonies by ordinary 
people, unless they have been artificially rectified- I 
do not think that it is possible either to reject them 
or to call them doubtful. It seems to me psycho- 
logically certain that such a rapid, simultaneous con- 
version of such unimaginative men as we know the 
Twelve to have been from the state of mind as described 
in the Gospels, both before and after the crucifixion 
of Jesus Christ, to the state of mind described in the 
beginning of the Acts, could not have occurred except 
by the impact of indisputable facts of experience, 
such as those to which they attributed their newly- 
won convictions. 

Nor do I propose to recur to the question of the 
Lucan authorship and trustworthiness of the Acts 
of the Apostles. Some critics hold that in the 
earlier chapters (i-xii) St. Luke is dependent upon 
Aramaic documents. Dr. Burkitt has recently 
suggested that St. Mark's narrative may originally 
have extended over the period covered by them. 1 
We can leave these questions aside as doubtful. 
What we are not justified in doubting is that, in 
his intercourse with Philip the Evangelist and 
Mnason, the " original " disciple, and some of the 
women of the apostolic company, and no doubt 
others at Caesarea and at Jerusalem, and with John 
Mark in Rome during St. Paul's imprisonment 
there John Mark who had probably lived through 

1 Earliest Sources for the Life of Jesus (Constable, 1922), p. 79. 
" It may be well to remind ourselves that we do not know how far 
the narrative (of Mark) extended over the ground covered by 
St. Luke's Acts of the Apostles. The first half of the work ends 
with the name of ' John who was surnamed Mark,' and it is plausible 
to suppose it may have been in the work of Mark that the third 
Evangelist came across the life-like episode of Rhoda." Certainly, 
however, Papias' description of Mark's record does not suggest 
this larger scope. 


all those early days in his mother's house at Jerusalem 
where the apostolic company assembled Luke had 
excellent opportunities for knowing the facts with 
sufficient accuracy to enable him to write trust- 
worthy history. In Rackham's Acts we have a 
very careful and thoughtful study of these early 
chapters. To my mind, one of the most convincing 
assurances of their trustworthiness lies in the exact 
account given of the nature of the early belief in 
Jesus. St. Luke published his record at least not 
earlier than St. Paul's release from his first captivity. 
He had been St. Paul's trusted companion all through 
the period when he was writing his epistles. He 
must have been quite familiar with St. Paul's full 
doctrine of Christ, and of justification and salvation 
in the Church which is His Body. I do not indeed 
see any signs that St. Luke assimilated St. Paul's 
theology very deeply he was a historian with a 
vivid perception of the beauties of moral character, 
rather than a theologian, we should suppose ; but 
he gives us touches of Paul's theology in the speeches 
in the latter part of the Acts. As we shall see, it is 
St. Paul who first in the record of the Acts calls 
Jesus the Son of God l ; it is St. Paul who talks 
about justification by faith, as distinguished from 
works of the law 2 ; it is St. Paul who talks about 
" the Church of God which he purchased with 
his own blood." 3 The circumstances of these 
speeches, as the Acts records them, do not give 
much opportunity for the characteristic Pauline 
theology. They consist of St. Paul's first approaches 
to Jewish and Gentile hearers, and of his apologia pro 
vita sua to the Jews and to the Church. But some 
of his characteristic phrases are there. Whereas 

1 Acts ix 20, cf. xiii 32. It is singular that in the Acts as a 
whole there is actually no mention of God as Father except in 
Acts~_i 4, 7 (the words of the risen Jesus) and Acts ii 33, where 
Peter refers to this promise. 

2 xiii 39. 3 xx 28. 


in the earlier part of the Acts they are quite absent. 
This is very noticeable. It indicates that St. Luke 
had good authorities for the early speeches he 
records and did not write at random ; thus we can 
approach the first part of the Acts with reasonable 
confidence to see how it represents the primitive 

The disciples, as represented especially by their 
leader St. Peter, 'are set before us as simply filled 
with the thoughts forced upon them by the 
Resurrection and later by the effusion of the Holy 
Spirit. The central thought is that of the Lordship 
of Jesus the Christ. Though God certified His 
mission " by mighty works and wonders and signs 
which God did by him in the midst of Israel," yet 
Israel had crucified and slain Him by the hands of 
the Romans. But now God had vindicated Him 
by the Resurrection and exalted Him by His right 
hand and to His right hand ; and it was He who 
had poured forth the promised gift of the Holy 
Spirit, which He received from the Father. >; There- 
fore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that 
God made him both Lord and Christ, 1 this Jesus 
whom ye crucified." 

So far as appears in the Acts, Peter raised no ques- 
tion concerning the divine Sonship or pre-existcnce of 
Jesus. 2 He is content throughout, as in his discourse 
in the house of Cornelius, to speak of Him as the 
man " Jesus of Nazareth, anointed with the Holy 
Ghost and with power, who went about doing good, 
and healing all that were oppressed with the devil ; 
for God was with him." But now, risen and exalted 

1 Acts ii 22-36. This must not be taken to imply that he was 
not the Christ when on earth. It was as the Christ that He suffered, 
iv 10. 

2 We should notice that the glorified Christ is the man Jesus of 
Nazareth who had lived and died on earth. There are no signs at 
all of the pre-existent heavenly man-like being of the Similitudes of 


to heaven, He is " Lord of all " and " ordained of 
God to be the judge of quick and dead." It is in 
His name, and through belief in Him, that men 
must receive remission of sins and the gift of the 
Holy Ghost. 1 It is in His name that miracles of 
power are done. 2 There is indeed salvation in none 
other : for neither is there any other name under 
heaven that is given among men, wherein we must 
be saved. 3 He is " the Prince " or " the Prince 
of life," and the " Saviour." His is " the Name." 4 
This is their summary creed Jesus is the Christ 
Jesus is Lord. The one name of salvation is the 
name of Jesus. Beholding Him in the moment of 
martyrdom, standing as Son of Man on the right 
hand of God, Stephen addresses to Him the prayer 
" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," and probably the 
words following, " Lord, lay not this sin to their 
charge," just as Jesus on the cross had addressed 
the Father, " Father, into thy hands I commend 
my spirit," " Father, forgive them." Before Pente- 
cost, when the disciple who was to fill up the place 
of Judas had to be chosen, they had prayed and said 
' Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, 
show of these two the one whom thou hast chosen, 
to take the place in this ministry and apostleship," and 
it is probable 5 that the Lord Jesus just mentioned 
is in that place also being appealed to, to make a 
fresh choice in order to fill the vacancy in the number 
of the twelve whom He had chosen when on earth. 
It should be noted that " to call on the name of 
Jesus," that is to invoke Him in prayer, is spoken 
of (cap. ix 14, 21) as the characteristic habit of the 

Further it was " in the name of the Lord Jesus " 

1 Acts x 36-43. 2 Acts iii 16. 

3 Acts iv 12. Acts iii 15, v 31, 41, ix 14-16. 

6 Acts i 21-4. The consideration to the contrary is that the 
single Greek word for * that knoweth the hearts ' (K 
used of God, i.e. the Father, in xv 8. 


that men were baptized l ; and, if we accept the 
account of what occurred at the Last Supper as 
St. Paul declares himself to have " received " it 
and as the Synoptists relate it, we must believe 
that when the disciples met for " the breaking of 
the bread" 2 they celebrated, according to their 
Lord's institution, the sacrament of His body and 
blood, and in that solemn rite acknowledged that 
He who had given His body and blood in sacrifice 
for them upon the Cross, and who was now alive 
at the right hand of God, was also amongst them on 
earth, where they were gathered together in His 
name, to be their spiritual food, and to bind them 
together in one. Such a rite and such an accom- 
panying belief seem to imply a conception of 
Christ's person beyond what, to judge from the 
record of Acts, they were at present explicitly enter- 
taining or proclaiming. 3 

What then was " the faith in Jesus " or " in His 
Name " of the first Christian community, intellec- 
tually considered ? It was not, we should judge, an 
explicit faith in His deity, but faith in Him as Lord. 4 
" Jesus is Christ and Lord " and " He has sent down 
upon us His Holy Spirit " was their summary creed. 
But to believe in the universal Lordship of Jesus, 
and His enthronement at God's right hand to be- 
lieve that He is to judge the quick and dead that 

1 Acts viii 16. I have not cited the text (Matt, xxviii 19), 
" baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Ghost," because, on purely critical principles, it is difficult 
to be sure of its being really a word of Christ on earth ; nor do I 
discuss the question of baptism only in the name of Jesus. The 
whole body of sacramental questions, with the question of the 
Church and its authority, is deferred to the next volume. 

* Acts ii 42. 

3 On the doubts constantly being raised whether Jesus really 
in fact instituted any sacrament of His body and blood for future 
observance by His Church, see appended note A, p. 99. 

I must not, of course, pass over the position of the critics who 
constantly inform us that it is in St. Paul that we first find the 
affirmation that Jesus is Lord. See appended note B, p. 102. 


from Him the Spirit of God is received and in His 
name sins are forgiven in baptism and wonders 
done that His name is the one name of salvation 
given to all men under heaven that He is to be 
called upon in prayer that He is present in " the 
breaking of the bread " to be the spiritual food of 
His disciples all this taken together means certainly 
that He had for them " the values of God." Not 
indeed all the " values " of God, for they would not yet 
have thought of Him, as far as we can see, as the 
Creator or sustainer of the world. But with regard 
to all that concerned their spiritual relations to God, 
Jesus held towards them such a position as a mere 
man, however highly endowed, could not have held. 
How was this to be accounted for ? It was an 
ambiguous moment. One can imagine an intelligent 
Greek, who knew the severity of the Jewish mono- 
theism, and was accustomed to constrast it with the 
lax ascription of deity to eminent things or persons 
in the Hellenic or Roman world, watching the Chris- 
tians in Jerusalem with interest, and taking note 
that these Jews were apparently abandoning what 
he had always regarded as their chief religious 
stronghold their stubborn belief in one only God 
and their stubborn refusal to worship any other 
being. What was to be the end of it ? 


It was not to end in any weakening of Mono- 
theism. Among the fiercest of their Jewish enemies 
was one who, converted to faith in Jesus, was to show 
them how to conciliate their old faith in the One 
God with their newly born faith in the Lordship of 

I do not think it is an accident that St. Paul is 
said by St. Luke, at the first moment after his 


conversion to have proclaimed " Jesus that he is the 
Son of God." l Nor is it without serious meaning 
that St. Paul describes his own conversion as the 
revelation within him of Jesus as " God's son " 
" to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him 
among the Gentiles." 2 That was the term, so 
solemnly used by Jesus of Himself, in which St. 
Paul saw the secret of His person. No doubt from 
the date of his conversion his soul went out in 
passionate faith toward Jesus as the glorified Christ 
and as the Lord. But he was, what no one of the 
earlier apostles had been, a man who had received the 
highest training of the Jewish schools " at the feet 
of " the renowned Rabbi Gamaliel, and we should 
judge from his Epistles that he was not only a Jewish 
theologian but also had imbibed at his native city 
of Tarsus something of the philosophical spirit for 
which it was famous. He could not be content to 
worship Jesus as Lord without understanding why 
such worship could be given Him, and how it was 
to be reconciled with the strict faith in one only 
God, one only object of worship, which retained his 
whole-hearted loyalty to the end. 

He had the opportunity after his conversion of 
thinking out his position. After his first " act of 
reparation " at Damascus when, with all possible 
courage and at the greatest risk, he proclaimed his 
new faith " that Jesus is the Son of God " and " con- 
founded the Jews that, dwell at Damascus, proving 
that this is the Christ," he was hurried secretly out 
of the city and passed probably some years in Arabia. 
Then, three years after his conversion, he paid a brief 
visit to Jerusalem, where again " he preached boldly 
in the name of the Lord," but again was in risk of 

1 It must be remembered that Acts viii 37 (the only previous 
mention of " the Son of God " in our old version of Actd) is 
probably not part of the true text. 

* Gal. i 1C ; cf. ii 20. 


his life from the hostility of the Jews, and was sent 
off to his old home, Tarsus, out of harm's way, and 
must have been there perhaps some seven years. 
But we hear little or nothing of any evangelistic 
work there. 1 It is probable that his sojourn both in 
Arabia and in Tarsus was on the whole a time of 
retirement and thought. From the time when 
Barnabas fetched him to Antioch, his life must have 
been one of ceaseless strain. But before that he had 
had time to think out the meaning of his new faith, 
of which he had already, at Damascus and especially 
at Jerusalem, received "the tradition," 2 and he had 
found in the doctrine of the divine sonship the way 
of reconciliation between his old Monotheism and 
his new belief in the Lordship of Jesus. 3 

But before we enquire into the sources of St. 
Paul's doctrine of Christ's person, we must have it 
clearly before our mind, and we should take notice 
that the way in which it is referred to in his epistles 
seems to show conclusively that, in its main lines., 
it must have formed part of his first preaching 

1 He speaks (Gal. i 21) of going "into the region of Syria and 
Cilicia," and of the Christians in Judaea hearing " that he that 
once persecuted them now preached the faith of which he once 
made havoc." We hear of " brethren in Syria and Cilicia," and 
at the beginning of the second missionary journey " he went through 
Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches " (Acts xv 23, 41). 
But if these churches were of his foundation we should have been 
likely to hear something of them. And we hear nothing. 

* He tells us himself that he received the tradition concerning 
the Resurrection (1 Cor. xv 1-3) and concerning the institution 
of the Eucharist (probably there was more that he does not 
mention). Galatians i 17, ii 6 must be read in the light of these 

3 I am glad to see that Eduard Meyer, Ursprung, vol. ii, p. 348, 
recognizes the importance, not only of " the tradition " which 
St. Paul received in Damascus and Jerusalem, but also of the 
long period of subsequent reflection before he began his mission 
work : "In der langen Zeit, die er nach seiner Bekehrang in 
Damascus und Tarsus zubrachte, muss er iiber die neue Erkenntnis 
gegriibelt haben, die ihm aufgegangen war, bis er mit seiner 
Anschauungen in reinen war und sie sich in seiner Weise logisch 
zurecht gelegt hatte, so dass er alsdann die Missionstatigkeit 
beginnen konnte." 



when founding his churches, for it is not introduced 
anywhere in his writings as if it were a new 

He is full of the familiar thought of the Lordship 
of Christ, and indeed occasionally the Lord (Jehovah) 
and the Lord (Christ) are unmistakably identified 
that is, Old Testament language about the former 
is applied to the latter. 1 But St. Paul has what 
the Church before him apparently had not an 
explanation. Christ can be thus treated as divine 
Lord, or identified with Jehovah, because before 
He was sent into the world He was with the Father 
as His Son " his own son " (Rom. viii 3), " the son 
of his love " (Col. i 13). The glorified Christ can 
be the very "image of God " 2 because, at the be- 
ginning of things, as Son of the Father, He had been 
God's "image" the expression of the invisible 
God. 3 Through Him, the Son, has God done 
whatever in the process of creation He has done. 
He is " the heir of all creation " " through him 
are all things " " in him were all things created, 
in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and 
things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or 
principalities or powers ; all things have been created 
through him, and unto him (he is their end) ; and 
he is (or ' he exists ') before all things, and in him 
all things have their coherence." He is not only 
the creator of all that is, but also the continuous, 
immanent principle of order in the universe. 4 It 
is He who was supplying the need of the Israelites 
in the wilderness as " the rock that followed 

1 See Romans x 9-15 (Joel ii 32) ; 2 These, i 9 (Is. ii 10, 19, 
21) ; 1 Cor. ii 16 (Is. xl 13, Ixx) ; 1 Cor. x 21 (Mai. i 7, 12). 
This identification has been described as " not proven " in any 
case in the N.T. But it seems to me beyond dispute. See Sanday 
and Headlam on Rom. x. 

2 Cor. iv 4. a Col. i 15. 

4 See I Cor. viii 6 ; Col. i 15-17. Nothing can better Lightfoot's 
notes on this passage. 


them." 1 He it was who "when the fulness of the 
time was come " was sent forth " born of a woman, 
born under the law," " in the likeness of the flesh 
of sin," but " knowing no sin," 2 as man to redeem 
mankind, whether Jews or Gentiles, who will believe 
on Him. He was, as man on earth, their example, 
and their propitiation before God, and now He is 
continuously from heaven the source of their new 
life by His spirit. For that divine Sonship which 
was veiled during His mortal life and in His death, 
was declared again unmistakably in His resurrec- 
tion 3 ; and thereupon, being exalted to the heavenly 
places, He communicates His own Spirit, which is 
the Spirit of God, to the Church, which is His body, 
and to all its members, so that " in Him " they may 
live as sons in His sonship, and by Him be renewed 
into His image, and remaining in Him, 4 whether 
they live or die, may be prepared to meet Him when 
He comes in glory, being already associated with 
Him in the life of God. 

This is St. Paul's doctrine of Christ in summary. 
I think Dr. Allan Menzies (commenting on 2 Cor. iv 
4) is right in saying " It was difficult for them 
(Jews) to take in how one who had been a man on 
the earth could be [a] God, and if this was not 
accepted, all the other Pauline doctrines remained 
incredible, a tangle of paradoxes and indiscretions. 
The verse shows very clearly how the whole of Paul's 
thought hinged on his doctrine of Christ's divinity." 

St. Paul is not a scientific writer who exhibits 
his thought accurately and consecutively stated. 
If he had been this, he would have saved the 

1 1 Cor. x 4. In this connection I am inclined to believe that 
the A.V. of verse 9 gives the right reading : " Neither let us tempt 
Christ, as some of them also tempted." 

8 See Rom. viii 3, Gal. iv 4, 2 Cor. v 21. 

3 Rom. i 3-4. 

4 " In the Lord," or " in Christ," or " in Christ Jesus," or " i 
the Lord Jesus." 


controversial and critical world a great deal of 
trouble, but he would not have been St. Paul. He 
does, however, incidentally give us what it is 
hardly an exaggeration to call a careful theory of 
the meaning of the Incarnation in the Epistle to 
the Philippians, though the theory as given is only 
incidental to an ethical exhortation. His theme 
is humility, and his example of humility is Christ, 
not only withia the compass of His human life but 
before that in the act of taking humanity. For 
" pre-existing in the characteristics [or nature] 
of God, he set no store on equality with God, but 
emptied himself, taking the characteristics [or 
nature] of a servant, and being made in the likeness 
of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, he 
humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto 
death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also 
God highly exalted him, and bestowed upon him 
the name which is above every name ; that at 
the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things 
in heaven and things on earth and things under the 
earth, and that every tongue should confess that 
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." l 

1 Phil, ii 5-11. This is one of the passages in the N.T. which 
have been obscured by excessively minute scrutiny. I do not 
think anything can better Lightfoot's commentary. Some people 
are disposed to dispute that " emptied himself " or " annulled him- 
self " is meant as a description of the act of the Incarnation at 
all. They would apparently translate " he emptied himself, 
having taken," i.e. He first took human nature and then humbled 
Himself. But " emptied himself " here is surely parallel to 
" beggared himself " or " made himself poor " in 2 Cor. viii 9. 
Both phrases describe an act of abandonment by our Lord of the 
state belonging to His divine nature which was involved in becoming 
man. " Emptied himself " is therefore to be distinguished from 
the " humbled himself " which follows in Phil, ii 7, and which 
describes His conduct after He became man. See Menzies on 
2 Cor. viii 9. " With the phrase ' chose poverty' [or * made himself 
poor '] we may compare ' he emptied himself ' (Phil, ii), which 
refers not to the act of Jesus as a man, but to the great act of 
humiliation He performed when He gave up His existence in the 
form of God, and took on Himself the form of a servant." 

The word translated ''characteristics" (or "nature," which I 


This being St. Paul's doctrine of a real incarnation 
of the Son of God, who pre-existed in the essential 
characteristics or nature of God, we ask whether 
St. Paul believes Him to have been, and calls Him 
without qualification, God. What everywhere con- 
fronts us in St. Paul's letters is that he attributes 
to Him always in definite subordination to God, 
the Father 1 all the characteristic functions of 
God ; the creation of all things in the universe and 
the maintenance of creation, as we have seen ; the 
providence which directs the accidents of life; the 
" grace " that redeems men and holds them " in 
Christ " or "in the Lord " as the sphere in which 
they live ; the final judgment which is unerringly 
to assess each human life ; the crowning of the re- 
deemed with glory and the consummation of the 
whole creation. 2 In the whole range of divine 
activities there appears to be no district in which 

think is a better word) is literally " form " ; but the English word 
is misleading. The original word describes the " permanent 
characteristics " or " kind " or " manner of being " of anything. 
See Lightfoot in loc. and Trench, Synonyms, pp. 247 ff. So the 
" form of the servant " describes the permanent characteristics 
or " nature " of manhood with probable reference to the " servant 
of Jehovah " in Second Isaiah. The words " likeness " and "fashion " 
which follow affirm that the Son of God not only took the real 
nature but also the outward appearance and condition of manhood. 
The Son not only became really man, but ordinary man, like other 
men to look at, and like other men in all the changing conditions 
of life. 

1 Alike in (a) His cosmic activities, and (6) in His redemptive 
activities the Son is subordinate to the Father ; see for (a) 
1 Cor. viii 6, Col. i 15, and for (6) Gal. iv 4, Col. i 19, 1 Cor. xi 3. 
It is not necessary to multiply quotations. And the essential 
subordination of the Son to the Father, as recipient to source, 
has always been the Catholic doctrine. See Westcott on 
John xiv 28. In 1 Cor. xv 28 St. Paul speaks of the ultimate 
order, when the work of the mediatorial Kingdom of Christ is fully 
accomplished, and all resistance and rebellion is over for ever, and 
in that ultimate order the Son is subordinate to the Father. 

2 It is not necessary to multiply quotations, but see Col. i 14-18, 
1 Thess. iii 11, 2 Cor. xiii 14, and Gal. i 3, 2 Cor. v 17, 2 Cor. 
v 10, Rom. vi 23, 2 Thess. ii 14, Phil, iii 21, ii 10, Eph. 
i 10. 


God, that is the Father, is not associated with His 
Son, nor is it in St. Paul's mind apparently con- 
ceivable that the honour paid to the Son, the Lord 
Jesus, throughout the whole created universe, should 
be any derogation from or should be distinguishable 
from the honour paid to the Father, or that there 
should be anything given to the Father in the way 
of homage by His creatures which is withheld from 
the Son. On the whole the instinct of monotheism 
(and no doubt the pressing necessity to maintain 
the language of monotheism in churches of Gentile 
origin) leads St. Paul generally to speak of the Father 
alone as God and of the Son as Lord : " For us 
there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, 
and we unto him ; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
through whom are all things, and we through him " 
(1 Cor. viii 6) ; but so completely is the Son repre- 
sented as sharing in the divine life and activity that 
it is, I think, wilful to question the ascription to 
the Christ, who was born of Jewish stock " as con- 
cerning the flesh," of the words which seem so 
plainly to suggest the antithesis of the glory of 
Christ to His humiliation " who is over all, God 
blessed for ever " 1 or to question the phrase in 
St. Paul's speech at Miletus to the Ephesian elders, 
" the Church of God which he purchased with his own 
blood," or "the blood which is his own." 2 We 
should conclude, then, that as St. Paul constantly 
associates the Lord (Jesus) in all the strictly divine 
activity and glory, so occasionally he calls Him 

We know that St. Paul would have attributed 

1 Rom. ix 5. See Sanday and Headlam in loc. 

9 Acts xx 28. In this phrase I think with Rackham God means 
the Father, but the blood of Christ is called "his own." In 
Titus ii 13, however, I think Parry, following Hort, is probably 
right in treating the words " Jesus Christ " as in apposition to 
" the glory of our great God and Saviour." Christ, that is, is 
" the glory of God " (see below, pp. 128 ff). 


his doctrine of Christ to direct divine inspiration. 1 
Just as our Lord would have St. Peter assured 
that his confession of His Messiahship was due to 
nothing lower than divine revelation, so would St. 
Paul have felt and claimed for his fuller conviction 
about Christ's person. But in neither case can 
divine revelation be taken to exclude human and 
external influences. Whence, then, we ask, did St. 
Paul derive, not his conviction, but the materials 
through which this conviction expressed itself ? 

It has been commonly suggested by those who 
are absorbed in the new study of " apocalyptic " 
that St. Paul's idea of the pre-existent Christ is 
derived from the Similitudes of the Book of Enoch 
or from similar sources which have perished. But 
this suggestion ought to be abandoned. The figure 
in the Similitudes is that of a quasi-angelic being in 
human form, who is being preserved in the secret 
treasury of God to be manifested only at the end of 
the world to carry out the Divine judgment and to 
usher in the world to come. If in the original docu- 
ment he is called " the son of man " (which I hold 
to be very doubtful), yet in no real sense has he ever 
been man, nor ever will be that is, not in the sense 
of sharing the nature or experience, physical and 
spiritual, of the sons of men. It is a fundamentally 
" docetic " figure that of these Similitudes neither 
in any real sense divine nor in any real sense human. 
St. Paul shows, I think, not the slightest trace of such 
a presentation. He never speaks of the "Son of 
Man " ; and the pre-existent " Son of God " of St. Paul 
is divine, subsisting in the " form " of God, and not 
yet in any sense human ; but at a definite moment in 
time, by a definite human birth of a woman, He be- 
came man. It was not that He appeared merely in 
human guise, but that He really became man, in the 
solidity of human flesh and reality of human character, 

1 Gal. i 12, 15, 16. 


and as man lived, and was crucified and died, and was 
buried, and rose again and was glorified, and is 
" to come." 1 Nor is there any reason to think that 
St. Paul was influenced by Philo's hazy conception 
of the ideal man who exists among the ideas of the 
eternal world, 2 nor by any ancient myth of an eternal 
man. There is no trace in St. Paul of any " eternal 
man " at all. The only phrase pleaded on behalf 
of such a suggestion is the phrase " the second man 
is from heaven." In its context, I think, this phrase 
can only describe the coming of Christ in glory, not 
His first appearance on earth. 3 The Apostle is 
answering the question " with what manner of body 
do they [the dead] come," that is, at the resurrection 
day. And he answers that they will come in a 
spiritual body, like to Christ who has now become 
" life-giving spirit," and will come as the " second 
man from heaven." St. Paul was, in fact, not 
enunciating any old theory which he might be 
supposed to have learned as a Pharisee, but some- 
thing which the resurrection of Christ (and his vision 
of the risen Christ) had taught him for the j first 
time. 4 

To recur, then, to the question whence St. Paul 
derived the material for this conception of Christ : 
I think the answer must be in the first place that 

1 See for St. Paul's doctrine Phil, ii 6-10, Gal. iv 4. This 
verse in Galatians with Rom. i 3 implies the reality of His human 
flesh ; when St. Paul talks of His character as obedient, meek and 
gentle, he implies His full spiritual humanity. As He had the 
" form " of God, so He took the "form," that is, the real nature, 
of man. St. Paul was not confronted with any docetism. But 
there is no reason to think he would have made any terms with it. 
Christ in glory is still human and His " body of glory " is the pattern 
of the body of glory which we are all destined to enjoy, Phil, iii 21. 
On 2 Cor. v 16, " Christ after the flesh," see appended Note C, p. 105. 

2 See Lebreton, Originea, p. 216. 

3 1 Cor. xv 47. See Robertson and Plummer, in loc. (Internat. 
Crit. Comm.). Also Dalman, op. cit., pp. 251 f. 

4 On what has just been said, I must refer back for confirmation 
to the Note on pp. 30 ff. 


he was much better acquainted than some people 
appear to suppose with the words of Christ. We 
must recognize, as has been already argued, that 
St. Paul, after his conversion, received " a tradition " 
which in certain respects was already formulated. 
I think this tradition probably included a record of 
the sayings of Christ. But whether this be so or 
no, we are bound to acknowledge that St. Paul 
had in his mind, if not in his hand, some record 
of the words of Christ, and assumes that the converts 
knew it also for four times he refers to a particular 
" word of the Lord " as of final and decisive authority. 1 
I think also St. Paul's ethical teaching shows un- 
mistakable and close familiarity with Christ's teach- 
ing. His estimate of the law of love, and his descrip- 
tion of love, and of " the fruits of the spirit," and 
his appeal to " the meekness and gentleness of Christ," 
and to His example of humility, will, if we meditate 
on them, convince us of this. 2 In the same way I 
think the remarkable phrase which occurs five times 
in St. Paul's epistles, " The Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ," 3 and which is used side by side with phrases 
such as " our Father " or " the Father," means 
that St. Paul knew how it had been our Lord's 
habit to speak to His disciples never of " our 
Father," 4 but of " your Father," and " my Father." 
16 The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ " then, as 
St. Paul uses it, means Him whom Jesus Christ 
used constantly to speak of as " my Father." And if 
he knew how Jesus spoke of God as His Father, 
he must have known that He spoke of Himself as 
the Son. Thus I have grown to feel convinced 

1 1 Cor. vii 10, ix 14, 1 Thess. iv 15, Acts xx 35. In the last 
two cases the " words of the Lord " have not been otherwise 
preserved. In the first two they have. See also 1 Tim. vi 3. 

2 So Dr. Rashdall, The Idea of Atonement, pp. 106 ff. 
8 Rom. xv 6, 2 Cor. i 3, xi 31, Eph. i 3, Col. i 3. 

"Our Father" (in the Lord's Prayer) is only put into the 
lips of the disciples. 


that St. Paul must have had in his mind, and very 
possibly in written form before his eyes, such words 
as "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and 
earth, that thou didst hide these things from the 
wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto 
babes ; yea, Father, for so it was well pleasing in 
thy sight. 1 All things have been delivered unto 
me of my Father : and no one knoweth the Son, 
save the Father : neither doth any know the Father 
save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth 
to reveal him," and " Of that day and that hour 
knoweth no one, not even the^angels of heaven, 
neither the Son," and again the parable of the 
Husbandmen, suggesting so sharp a distinction be- 
tween the servants of God (the prophets) and the 
only Son. Though, as I have said, the note of the 
divine sonship of Christ was absent apparently from 
the first Apostolic preaching, it is very difficult 
to doubt that there was thought and talk about such 
memorable sayings as these in their bearing on the 
mystery of Christ's person. And St. Paul was more 
quick than others to catch their full meaning. 

Moreover it is plain that St. Paul's doctrine of 
the pre-existence of the Son, before the world was, 
and His co-operation with the Father in all His 
works, and His incarnation in the fulness of time, 
did not in any way shock or surprise the Church. 
There were, we know, aspects and elements in 
St. Paul's teaching which excited alarm and caused 
dissension. This is much more evident in St. Paul's 
own Epistles than in the Acts. But there is no such 
note of emphasis on his teaching about the person 
of Christ as to suggest that it was surprising by 
its novelty or calculated to raise antagonism. It is 
taken for granted as an accepted truth. And this 
could not have been the case if the idea of Jesus 

1 I suspect that 1 Cor. i 18 f. is reminiscent of the context of 
these words : "I thank thee, Father," etc. 


as Son of God, in a unique and pre-eminent sense, 
had not been in the tradition of the first Jerusalem 
Church, though for the time it appears to have 
been almost ignored, while attention was wholly 
concentrated upon His Messiahship and Lordship. 
Those who believe, as I do, that the author of the 
Fourth Gospel gives us real memorials of Jesus, 
and is no other than John the son of Zebedee, will 
remember that he was at Jerusalem at least during 
the earlier stages of St. Paul's career as an Apostle, 
and that St. Paul had converse with him as one of 
the " pillars." It is universally assumed that St. Paul 
influenced the author of the Johannine writings. 
I cannot help thinking it is possible that St. John 
may have communicated something to St. Paul. 

I should not, of course, wish to lay any stress on 
this possibility. But I do wish to lay stress on 
the fact that St. Paul's doctrine of the Son of God 
seems to have caused no surprise or opposition ; 
and this could hardly have been the case unless it had 
been already present in germ in the tradition of the 
Church, though it was not apparently much in evi- 
dence, while the whole attention of the Church was 
preoccupied with something else. 

There is nothing in the Synoptists which very 
directly suggests the association of the Son in the 
activities of creation or of nature, though there is 
one saying in the Fourth Gospel which probably does 
suggest it 1 : "My Father worketh hitherto and 
I work." But as soon as ever the idea of the Son, 
as associated with the Father in His eternal life, 
had presented itself to St. Paul's mind, it would 
probably have clothed itself in the associations of the 
Wisdom of God as that is presented in the Book of 
Proverbs and especially in the Wisdom of Solomon, 
with which St. Paul in the Romans shows himself 
well acquainted. 2 

1 John v 17-20. 2 See Sanday and Headlam, p. 51. 


The divine " Wisdom " in these books is not 
conceived of as really a person, but it is strikingly 
personified. It is represented as if it had separate 
existence as God's effulgence or self-expression, before 
ever the world was ; and (perhaps in Proverbs, 
certainly in the Book of Wisdom) as His agent in 
creation and in His self-revelation to men. Much 
of the language that St. Paul uses about the activity 
of the Son in tfce creation and sustentation of the 
world is paralleled in this literature. " The Lord 
possessed me (or ' formed me ') as the beginning of 
his way, before his works of old. I was set up from 
everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth 
was. . . . Then I was by him as a master work- 
man (?) f and I was daily his delight, rejoicing 
always before him ; rejoicing in his habitable earth ; 
and my delight was with the sons of men." * And 
in the Book of Wisdom, Wisdom is called " the 
artificer of all things . . . Yea she pervadeth and 
penetrateth all things. . . . She is an effulgence 
from everlasting light ; and an unspotted mirror of 
the working of God, and an image of his goodness. 
And she, being one, hath power to do all things ; 
and remaining in herself, reneweth all things : and 
from generation to generation passing into holy 
souls, she maketh men friends of God and prophets." 
" She reacheth from one end of the world to the other 
with full strength, and order eth all things graciously." 
And Solomon prays, " Give me wisdom, her that 
sitteth by thee on thy throne ; . . . send her forth 
from thy holy heaven, and from the throne of thy 
glory bid her come." 2 

There can be no doubt that at least the Book of 
Wisdom exhibits the influence of Greek philosophy. 
The intellectual world, under the influence of 
Platonists and Stoics, was full of the conception of 
a divine Reason, immanent in the universe as its 
1 Prov. viii 22-30. 2 Wisd. vii 22 to ix 18. 


order and law, and the source of the reason of man. 
St. Paul's own city Tarsus, where he was brought up, 
and to which he returned for a good many years 
after his conversion, was pre-eminently a philosophic 
city. 1 I do not suppose that St. Paul was a member 
of any of the philosophic schools. But I think it 
is impossible he can have been ignorant of the 
philosophical ideas which constituted the common 
intellectual atmosphere of educated men in his own 
city. And when we read such phrases as "in him 
(the Son) all things consist " or " in him we live and 
move and have our being," we cannot dissociate 
such an idea of an immanent God from the influences 
of current philosophy, or doubt that in St. Paul's 
mind this current conception of a pervading reason 
helped him to frame his conception of the activities 
of the Son of God in nature. 

Nevertheless the influence of philosophy, or even 
of the Book of Wisdom, on St. Paul must not be 
exaggerated. St. Paul's attitude towards philosophy 
is not sympathetic or at all trustful. He delivers his 
solemn affirmations about Christ wholly as a revela- 
tion of God. As I have said, I believe him to have 
found in Christ's own words the source of his doctrine 
of His divine sonship, He may have found there 
also a foundation for his doctrine of the co-operation 
of the Son with the Father in the creation and main- 
tenance of nature. But as regards both doctrines, 
or, to speak more properly, both parts of the same 
doctrine, we shall note that the authors of the Epistle 
to the Hebrews and the Fourth Gospel are entirely 
at one with St. Paul. They all use the same language 

1 See Strabo, xiv 5, 13 : " The zeal of its inhabitants for philo- 
sophy and general culture is such that they have surpassed even 
Athens and Alexandria and all other cities where schools of 
philosophy can be mentioned. And its pre-eminence in this 
respect is so great, because there the students are all townspeople 
and foreign students do not readily settle there." Strabo was an 
older contemporary of St. Paul. 


about the functions of the Son in nature. They 
reflect, no doubt, the language of the later Jewish 
theology about the Wisdom or Word of God. But 
the principle of such language is a fundamental 
principle of Old Testament religion. It is the refusal 
to separate the spiritual from the material, or God's 
work in men's souls from His w r ork in nature. It 
would have seemed self-evident to a Jew that if the 
Son is the organ -of God's revelation and communica- 
tion of Himself to men's souls, He must also and 
equally be the organ of His work in creating and 
ordering nature. And in this principle we must 
surely see a real inspiration of the Spirit of truth. 


Next, the Epistle to the Hebrews must claim our 
attention. Nothing can bring more clearly before 
our minds the novelty of literary criticism considered 
as a science than the fact that for so many centuries 
this Epistle should have been held to be by St. 
Paul. For though the ultimate theology is closely 
similar to St. Paul's, the tone of thought, as well 
as the phraseology 1 and style, is characteristically 
different. Who wrote this Epistle we do not know, 
but we are, I think, safe in saying that it was written 
for Jews and before, but not much before, the 
destruction of Jerusalem, and that it was written 
by one whose thought suggests Alexandria as his 
spiritual home. 

1 Thus God is scarcely called the " Father " ; the idea of our 
being " in Christ Jesus " or "in the Lord " is absent ; the doctrine 
of the Spirit is very slightly touched. There is (strangely) no 
assertion of the universalism of the Gospel. The antitheses " law " 
and " grace," " faith " and " works," " flesh " and " spirit " are 
not to be found. It is not certain that the author was acquainted 
with Philo's writings, but he certainly breathed in their atmosphere. 
For instance, for him heaven is the world of spiritual and intel- 
lectual realities and earth the world of shadows and images. People 
who say that for the early Christians heaven was definitely a place 
above our heads seem to forget the Epistle to the Hebrews. 


It has one dominant purpose, that is to present 
to thoughtful Jewish converts, who were in danger 
of relapsing, the essential superiority of Christianity 
to the religion of the Old Testament and its finality, 
on the ground of its providing for men, through 
Christ, perfect and unhindered approach to God. 
That is to say, in other words, that its subject is the 
high-priesthood of Christ. But though this special 
doctrine of the Epistle is a fascinating subject, we 
are not at present directly concerned with it. What 
we are concerned with is simply the author's doctrine 
of the person of Christ, and this we shall find is 
almost identical with St. Paul's. 

" Jesus," then, (for the writer most often used 
this purely human name,) had not the beginning of 
His personal existence when He took flesh. Before 
all creation He was the effulgence of God's glory and 
the very image of His substance. 1 These phrases 
suggest coeternity with God, but not directly person- 
ality. But they are coupled with the personal 
words " the son," and the " heir of all things " ; 
and (as with St. Paul) it is the Son through whom 
God made the worlds, and it is He who bears along 
or upholds all things by the utterance of His power. 
As Son of the Father He builds the house of which 
Moses is the servant. 2 Again, as with St. Paul, 
all His activity in redemption is seen upon the back- 
ground of His functions in the whole of nature. He 
is " God's Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, 
through whom also he made the worlds ; who, 
being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image 
of his substance, and upholding all things by the 
word of his power, when he had made purification 
of sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty 
on high." 3 But though there is thus unmistakable 
continuity of personal being and action between 
these different " moments " of the Son's life, yet 
1 i 2-4. * iii 1-6. a j 2-4. 


there is no idea of any eternal manhood. He became 
man at a particular date. Thus He who had been 
so much above the angels was " made a little lower 
than the angels." l " He partook of flesh and 
blood." 2 " He taketh hold of the seed of Abra- 
ham." 3 " He sprang out of Judah." 4 And great 
emphasis is laid on the reality of His manhood in 
spirit as well as flesh. " He was in all points tempted 
like as we are, yet without sin." 5 " In that he 
himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to 
succour them that are tempted." 6 " Who in the 
days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and suppli- 
cations with strong crying and tears unto him that 
was able to save him from death, and having been 
heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet 
learned obedience by the things that he suffered ; 
and having been made perfect, he became unto all 
them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." 7 
His priesthood for men depends upon the reality 
of His manhood and human development : and it 
is in the perfection of His manhood that " he sat 
down on the right hand of God." 8 

Thus as He is properly divine, so He is properly 
human : but His personality is divine throughout 
He is the eternal Son. That in which He offers 
Himself is " eternal spirit." 9 Whether, in the 
quotation from Ps. xlv, 10 He is called " God " is not 
certain ; but the words of Ps. cii, which describe 
the activity of the Lord (Jehovah) and His un- 
changeableness and eternity, are certainly ascribed 
to Jesus, 11 and apparently to Him is ascribed " the 
glory for ever and ever." 12 Certainly in this Epistle 
there is the full doctrine of the Incarnation, quite 

1 ii 9. 8 ii 14. 3 ii 16. * vii 14. 

* iv 15. 6 ii 18. 7 v 7-9. 8 x 12. 

ix 14. 10 i 8. Westcott translates " God is thy throne." 
" i 10. 12 xiii 21. 


But before leaving this Epistle I should wish to 
emphasize its relative independence not only side 
by side with St. Paul's Epistles, but also side by side 
with Philo. 

No doubt the author's intellectual equipment 
and outlook are those of Alexandrian Judaism, but 
the special value of his testimony to the doctrine 
of the Incarnation lies in this that whereas the 
ideology of Philo and of other like Jewish thinkers 
would have come naturally to him, as a matter of 
fact his Christianity his faith in Jesus had given 
to all the current of ideas represented by Philo a 
wholly changed basis and tendency. He believed 
in the man Jesus : he clung with intense conviction 
and appreciation to His human sufferings of body 
and mind. The object on which his mind rested was, 
not an idea, but a person of flesh and blood, who has 
lived and struggled and suffered among the ordinary 
children of men. It is this strongly held historical 
basis of his faith which so deeply differentiates it 
from the ideology of Philo. It is not that he has 
transmuted the faith of the first disciples into some- 
thing different by the use of Alexandrian ideas. It 
is that the first faith in Jesus, the actual historical 
person, accepted as what He declared Himself to be, 
the Son of God, has found in the Alexandrian tradi- 
tion of Judaism ideas and terms in which it can 
express itself. This is to say that, by the side of St. 
Paul, the writer to the Hebrews stands with a very 
substantial originality, and with a very independent 
grasp upon the facts concerning Jesus; but, by the 
side of Philo, he stands on a different basis, and is 
travelling by a different road to a different goal. 

I will leave to another chapter the rest of the 
New Testament books. But I feel that we have 
already traversed together I and my readers 
the most important and the most difficult part of 
our road. The task on which we set out was to 


follow along the process by which the faith in Jesus 
of the first disciples developed into a clear belief 
in His person. 

We watched how, unconsciously, the overmaster- 
ing sense of authority resident and active in Him 
brought them into an attitude towards Him which 
cannot be otherwise described than that He came to 
have for them " the values of God." We saw too 
that Jesus Himse4f seems to have deliberately minis- 
tered to this result. Then we watched their failure of 
faith over the scandal of the cross and their recovery 
in the light of the Resurrection. Again we saw how 
their crucified Master, now raised to be the Lord of 
all at God's right hand, comes to have, in even fuller 
sense than before, the values of God for them. We 
cannot doubt that there must have been deep ques- 
tioning in their souls and probably in their conver- 
sation as to the secret of His person and how the Man 
could be thus exalted to the place of God. But we 
catch no word about the divine Sonship in their public 
preaching. It is St. Paul who, as far as our records 
go, first appears to have brought the idea of the Son- 
ship, grounded so securely in Christ's own language, 
to explain the divine exaltation of the Man and to 
give the Church the formula for its creed ; but we 
have seen that the Church and its teachers, as 
far as St. Paul's Epistles and other documents of 
the New Testament 1 enable us to judge, appear to 
have accepted this doctrine about eternal Sonship 
and incarnation without controversy or demurrer. 
We have seen the same doctrine a few years after 
St. Paul's death unhesitatingly affirmed in the 
Epistle of a man equal to St. Paul in intellectual 
equipment, though independent of him in training 
and in the character of his mind. W T hat we have 
still to ask ourselves is whether this process in the 
disciples' minds, so far as we have followed it, is 

1 See below on the Epistles of Peter, James and Jude, pp. 12y ff. 


for us really imaginable unless we suppose that the 
leading under which they were moving forward was 
the leading of God, and the conviction about Jesus 
to which they were led was the truth. But to that 
question we shall return, when we have considered 
the other documents of the New Testament. 


On the doubts raised whether Jesus in fact instituted the 
Sacrament of His Body and Blood for the observance of 
His Church. 

Bousset and the critics of his school maintain that 
the sacramental ideas and rites of St. Paul in particular 
those connected with the Eucharist were not derived 
from Jesus or from the early Jerusalem church, but had 
their origin in the Hellenistic churches of Syria, where 
sacramentalism was developed among the Christians 
under the influence of the Pagan mystery religions with 
which they had been familiar before their conversion. 
What St. Paul did was, with the help of a vision, recorded 
in 1 Cor. xi 23 ff.. to formulate and give consistency to 
the sacramental principle on the basis of the Jew's belief 
in God and the newly- won belief in Jesus as " the Lord " 
and as " the Spirit." This theory must wait for fuller 
consideration till the next volume. But before Bousset 
wrote, and more widely than his influence has spread, it 
has been the custom (see Inge's Outspoken Essays (1919), 
pp. 227 f. and 249) among many critics to maintain 
that Jesus instituted no sacraments as He founded no 
church. Doubtless He celebrated a fraternal meal with 
His disciples before His Passion, which had a spiritual 
significance, as He was probably accustomed to do. 
But He instituted no rite for any future church, such as 
is implied in the words " Do this in remembrance of 
me " (1 Cor. xi 24, 25). The suggestion of these critics 
is that when St. Paul speaks of himself as having 
" received from the Lord " and " delivered to you " 
(1 Cor. xi 23) the account of the institution of such 
a rite at the Last Supper, with the solemn injunction 


" Do this in remembrance of me," he means that he had 
received it in a vision from Jesus. This vision did not 
correspond at all closely to the historical reality, but 
its teaching and the practice based upon it spread rapidly 
through the churches. So that when the Synoptic Gospels 
were written it had become the accepted institution in 
all the churches and was related in the Gospels as history. 

This theory seems to me to be in manifold ways 
arbitrary and improbable. For (1) St. Paul speaks also of 
having " received'" and " delivered " the record of the 
Resurrection in 1 Cor. xv 2-4, and no one can reasonably 
doubt that he is there referring to the tradition of the 
Church (see verse 11). It is obvious, therefore, to inter- 
pret his words about the "tradition" of the Eucharist 
in the same sense (see Dr. Anderson Scott in Cambridge 
Biblical Essays, p. 337). It was " from the Lord " as 
its source, though through the Church, that St. Paul 
received it. 

(2) If he had received it in a vision surely its form would 
have been different. It would hardly have come as an 
historical record. See Stanton, The Gospels as Historical 
Documents, vol. iii. pp. 273 ff. : "A passage earlier in 
the Epistle, where the apostle is interpreting [the sacra- 
ment] will suggest that Jesus [in the vision of Paul] 
might have said ' The bread which ye break is a com- 
munion in my body the cup which ye partake is a 
communion in my blood.' ' Nothing can read less like 
a vision than St. Paul's actual narrative. 1 Or if such a 
vision had been seen or imagined by St. Paul, which 
did not correspond to the facts as they had been hitherto 
received or to the practice of the churches already 

1 Eduard Meyer, Ursprung, vol. i. p. 175, is very emphatic that 
the account of the Last Supper, as St. Paul gives it, ** belonged 
to the oldest element of the tradition, as Paul had received it in 
Damascus." It was as "a sharply formulated tradition " (fest 
formulierte Tradition) that he produced it. " He received the 
tradition of the institution of the Last Supper in the same sense 
' from the Lord ' as he received the Gospel as a whole. ... In fact 
his information came naturally from the three years of his period 
of instruction in Damascus, which was completed through his 
intercourse with Peter and James in Jerusalem. Therefore it 
cannot be plausibly suggested that he here (i.e. in 1 Cor. xi) 
offers a special tradition about the Lord's Supper differing from 
the general tradition." 


established, is it likely that such a vision would have 
altered the practice of all the churches, including the 
Jewish churches, for whom the first Gospel was written ? 
This seems very improbable. 

(3) Curiously enough the critics are driven to seek 
the account of the original institution which has been 
least deeply affected by St. Paul's vision in the Gospel 
of his companion St. Luke, according to the shorter 
reading of his Gospel, found in some Western authorities, 
which leaves out all the words after " this is my body " 
down to " poured out for you." I cannot but agree 
with Dr. Salmon that the words should not be omitted 
(see Dr. Salmon's The Human Element in the Gospels 
[Murray], pp. 492 f.). I think we can only suppose that 
their omission, like the omission of verse 17 in other 
authorities, is due to a desire not to duplicate the giving 
of a cup. It is utterly improbable that St. Luke meant 
to reject both St. Mark's account and St. Paul's belief 
and practice, with which he must have been well 

(4) Dr. Rashdall's pages on the Last Supper (The Idea 
of Atonement, pp. 37 ff.) are written to dispose of the 
idea that " a certain expiatory value was attached by 
our Lord Himself to His approaching death " in the 
phrases " This is my body [which is given for you]," 
" This is my blood of the covenant which is shed for 
many [for the remission of sins]." With the subject of 
the atonement we shall have to deal later on. But as 
far as the accounts of the Eucharist are concerned 
Dr. Rashdall's pages seem to me to represent that type 
of " criticism " which is least worthy of the name 
the type of criticism which is resolved at all costs to 
eliminate what it does not want to accept. It is quite 
certain that the words in St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. 
Paul, and St. Luke (longer text) all alike postulate a 
Christ who believed Himself to be inaugurating a new 
covenant, according to the prophecies that so it should 
be ; and to be inaugurating it by sacrifice by His blood 
as the first covenant at Sinai had been inaugurated. 
And as it had been declared that the servant of Jehovah 
would, by " pouring out his soul unto death " as a guilt 
offering, redeem " many," so St. Mark and St. Matthew, 



by the use of the words " for many," convey to us the 
thought that Jesus knew He was so doing. 

(5) Some critics influenced by Schweitzer suppose 
the words of St. Matthew, " I will not drink henceforth 
of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it 
new with you in my Father's kingdom," intimate that 
our Lord expected the immediate coming of the End 
and His union with His disciples at the heavenly feast 
of the Kingdom. In part they make this the ground 
for disbelieving that Jesus instituted any sacrament for 
constant observance in His Church. He had no thought 
for an intermediate period. But St. Mark, on whom 
St. Matthew is based, and St. Luke omit the words 
u with you." Without these words the saying has no 
suggestion of any immediate renewal of fellowship with 
His disciples. They only intimate that this is His last 
meal on earth, and that the new wine of the Kingdom 
lies immediately before Himself. And where the 
emphasis has to be laid on the particular words, we 
must prefer St. Mark and St. Luke in agreement to 
St. Matthew's version. But of the eschatology of our 
Lord we treat later in this volume. 


On the question whether the First Church in 
Jerusalem called Jesus Lord 

We must not, of course, ignore the position taken by 
critics of the school of Bousset, and others, that the 
term " the Lord " (*v>o?) for Jesus was due to the 
Hellenistic Christian churches at Antioch, Damascus, 
Tarsus, and the like, who passed through a rapid assimila- 
tion to the Pagan mystery religions, even before St. Paul 
began his public ministry. These Pagan adherents of 
mystery religions addressed their patron gods or god- 
desses as Lord or Lady Lord Hermes, Lord Serapis, 
Lady Cybele, etc. Thus Bousset holds that the title 
(or its equivalent in Aramaic) was not used in the early 
Jerusalem community, but was first used in these 
Hellenistic churches. 1 

1 Bousset, Kyrios Christos, pp. 77 ff. ; cf. Glover, Conflict of 
Religions, p. 356. 


On the other hand, let us hear Dalman x : "At first 
the title, used in speaking to or of Jesus, was no more 
than the respectful designation of the Teacher on the 
part of His disciples. As soon as Jesus had entered 
into His state of kingly majesty, it became among His 
followers an acknowledgment of sovereignty ; and when 
they addressed Him as the Son of God [which apparently 
was not commonly done in the days before St. Paul], 
then ' our Lord,' as applied to Jesus, was not widely 
separated from the same designation for God. But it 
must be remembered that the Aramaic-speaking Jews 
did not, save exceptionally, designate God as 4 Lord,' so 
that in the Hebraist section of the Jewish Christians 
the expression ' Our Lord ' was used in reference to 
Jesus only, and would be quite free from ambiguity." 

The question is this, then Was the title Mar an or 
Lord used of Jesus by the early Jerusalem community 
in a sense betokening sovereignty (" Lord of all ") in 
a sense which, among Greek Christians of a few years 
later, easily merged into the sense of the same word as 
applied to God (Jehovah), but which at present would 
not have been precisely so used in Jerusalem ? 

St. Luke plainly implies that it was, with the title 
" Christ," used by them as their special term for the 
exalted Jesus. 2 See Acts i 21, (?) 24, ii 36, (iv 33, 
v 14), vii 59, (?) 60, viii 16, ix (1), 10, 13, 15, 17, (29), 
(42), x 36, xi 8, 17, 20, (21), 23, (24). 

There seems to me no kind of reason to doubt this, 
especially as St. Luke appears to be careful to avoid 
the title Son of God, till he comes to St. Paul. He 
seems to imply that the one title was, and the other 
was not, in use. 

There are two other indications looking in the same 

(1) First, that even in the thoroughly Greek church 
of Corinth St. Paul assumes familiarity with the in- 
vocation " Maranatha," " Come, O our Lord ! " in 
Aramaic, which means clearly that it had an Aramaic 

1 See Dalman's Words of Jesus, p. 327. 

1 I have put in brackets ( ) the occasions where the word is 
used by St. Luke in his own person and not ascribed specially to 
some speaker other than himself. 


origin. (The same Aramaic phrase occurs in the 
Didache, which is a document (I think) quite inde- 
pendent of St. Paul.) Bousset admits the force of this 
as an argument that the title " Lord " goes back to the 
original Aramaic-speaking church at Jerusalem, but 
pleads that it is not impossible " that the Maranatha 
formula had its origin, not on the ground of the original 
Palestinian church, but in the bilingual region of the 
Hellenistic communities of Antioch, Damascus, and 
Tarsus itself." x Jo doubt it is possible : for we know 
little or nothing of these communities and their manner 
of speech. But the probability surely is that the 
Hellenistic Christian communities there talked Greek. 
Even in Jerusalem the names of the men chosen to 
minister to the Hellenists are all Greek names. And 
Bousset is surely mistaken in saying that St. Paul's 
" tradition " goes back to these Syrian communities 
only, and not to Jerusalem. Where St. Paul talks about 
the tradition concerning the Resurrection (1 Cor. xv 3), 
there he certainly means the tradition which he had 
received from the earlier apostles i.e. at Jerusalem 
for he ranks himself with them as " the last " and 
irregular apostle, and adds, " Therefore, whether it were 
I or they, so we preach." The tradition which he 
received was therefore theirs before he came on the 
scene. It came from Jerusalem. Again, in Rom. xv 19 
St. Paul speaks of Jerusalem as his starting point. 

(2) St. Paul was of course conscious that there were 
" Gods many and Lords many," but certainly nothing 
in his use of " Lord " as a title for Jesus Christ suggests 
affinities with the heathen. It was, according to 
St. Luke, used with special reference to the dignity of 
the ascended Christ and His future coming. The phrase 
" Maranatha," " Come, O our Lord," also suggests that. 
St. Paul in his (probably earliest) Epistle to the Thes- 
salonians constantly uses it with this suggestion : the 
day of the Lord, the coming of the Lord, etc., see 
1 Thess. ii 19, iii 13, iv 15, 16, 17, v 2; 2 Thess. i 7, 
ii 1, 8, 14. But this is a distinctively Jewish idea. And 

1 P. 84. It is noteworthy that Bousset confesses " Schwieriger 
ist es eine Alterbestimmung fur das Vorkommen des griechischen 
Kyriostitelfl in Syrien und seiner Umgebung zu gewinnen." 


his characteristic phrase ev Kvpi'w suggests something 
quite alien to the heathen cults. 

On the whole, Bousset's position is singularly ill 

0?i the phrase of St. Paul, " Christ after the flesh" 

It is difficult to feel sure what exactly St. Paul means 
by the words of 2 Cor. v 16 : " Wherefore we henceforth 
know no man after the flesh: even though we have 
known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him no 
more." He is speaking, in a measure, generally of the 
ambassadors for Christ, not only of himself. That is 
(in part) the force of the plural " we." He is describing 
how the appreciation of the love of Christ involves for 
them death to their selfish selves, and to all the narrow- 
ness of natural affections. " To know men after the 
flesh " is to appraise them according to the standards 
of class, or race, or disposition. To " know Christ after 
the flesh " would be to appreciate Him as a Jew would 
naturally appreciate Him, as the heaven-sent Messenger 
who is to exalt the Jewish race and minister to Jewish 
pride. St. Paul had felt this pride in Christ, but before 
he recognized Jesus as the Christ. What he seems to 
mean is that all such narrow and partial prejudices have 
been abolished by the expulsive power of a love which 
is spiritual and universal. It is difficult, I acknowledge, 
to feel quite certain of St. Paul's meaning. But certainly 
he does not mean by " knowing Christ after the flesh," 
knowing Him as having become really and fully human 
in body as well as soul. That he could never repudiate. 
See Dr. Menzies' commentary in loc. 



THE doctrine of the divine Sonship and incarnation 
of Jesus Christ is given quite unmistakably in St. 
Paul's Epistles and the Epistle to the Hebrews, but 
it is given incidentally and by implication. But in 
St. John's Gospel, read in the light of the prologue 
and the conclusion, 1 it is given explicitly and directly ; 
and the main, though not the only, object of the 
writing of the Gospel appears to be to affirm the 
doctrine with all the authority which the personal 
testimony of the author can give it. 

I call this Gospel St. John's, and on the whole I 
believe it to give us at first hand the mature testi- 
mony of the son of Zebedee. But the widespread 
denial or doubt of his being the author, or the direct 
author, of the Fourth Gospel, and the consequent 
uncertainty about the authority to be attached to it, 
have seemed to make it wiser to build the structure 
of our argument independently of it in the first 
instance. So we have built it especially upon St. 
Mark and St. Luke, and upon the Acts, and upon St. 
Paul, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. But having 
done this we can supplement our argument with an 
appeal to St. John. 

1 John i 1-18 and John xx 30. Chap, xxi is evidently an 
appendix, by the same author, I believe, as the rest of the book, 
with an addition (verses 24, 25) by his companions. 



Dr. Slant on has recently, in a very careful study 
of the Fourth Gospel, given us a theory of what 
one may call "mediate Johannine authorship." 
The actual author was, he supposes, a younger man 
than the Apostle, who had gone to Asia perhaps 
earlier than he, but had there become intimately 
associated with him, and who also had independent 
memories of his own " who could remember having 
sometimes himself seen or heard Jesus, and who 
felt himself possessed of a knowledge, which was 
at least almost immediate, of the divine revelation 
made in the Lord, by intimate association with His 
personal disciples very soon after His departure." l 
I cannot be satisfied with this theory. It seems 
to me impossible to harmonize with the impression 
made by the Fourth Gospel. I cannot doubt that it 
at least claims to be in its whole bulk and the same 
applies to the First Epistle a personal testimony, 

1 Stanton, The Gospels as Historical Witnesses, Part iii 
(Cambridge, 1920), p. 281. 

Since this chapter was written, I have noted that Ed. Meyer, 
Ur&prung t i p. 312, treats as ridiculous any doubts that the author 
of the Fourth Gospel intended to represent himself as " the disciple 
whom Jesus loved " and as John the son of Zebedee. " This 
was the mask he assumed." He cannot understand how modern 
critics can have brought themselves to doubt this. Also he is 
confident that the author's conception of the Logos is derived from 
Palestinian Jewish sources (the "Memra" doctrine), and not from 
Greek philosophy, or Philo, though he may have known of the 
current Greek philosophical term (p. 318). I have also read Dr. 
Burney's Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (Oxford, 1922), who 
is (of course) insistent on its Palestinian origin, pp. 37 ff. In his 
opinion the author must have been an eyewitness of the events 
he describes really " the disciple whom Jesus loved " : but he 
identifies him as " John the presbyter " and not the apostle. He 
thinks that he must have been a Jew of Jerusalem, belonging to 
the priestly circle, and well trained in the Rabbinical schools, and 
that he wrote the Gospel in Aramaic, probably at Antioch soon 
after A.D. 75, before he took up his residence at Ephesus. I am 
not without hopes that the essentially Palestinian, and not Hellen- 
istic, origin and character of the Gospel, and its high value as an 
historical witness both to the events of our Lord's life and to His 
teaching, may soon come to be regarded as an " assured result " 
of critical enquiry. 


so personal that it must be first-hand, and I see 
no sufficient reason to doubt that the claim is true. 
But Dr. Stanton's study at least shows very cogent 
reasons for believing that both the narrative of the 
Fourth Gospel and the discourses rest upon a real 
apostolic experience, and I hope that critical students 
will heed his arguments. 1 

Thus he seems to me to show convincingly that 
the prologue to the Gospel, though of course it 
stands first, is not by any means the governing 
factor in the whole book. 2 On the contrary, in the 
bulk of the book, after the prologue, there is no 
allusion to the doctrine of the (personal) Word of 
God which is the characteristic feature of the prologue, 
and " the word of God " is given, as in the First 
Epistle, only its normal meaning of the divine 
message. 3 Jesus there appears only under those 
titles which He certainly used of Himself the 
Son of Man and the Son of God or the title which 
was certainly ascribed to Him with His express 
sanction the Christ. The substance of the book, 
which is of a narrative character, must, Dr. Stanton 
argues, be taken to represent the real experience 
(and the conviction based upon the experience) 
of an apostle or apostolic group, which was shared 
by or communicated to the mind of the author, 
supposed to be a different person. To put this 
experience on record was his primary object. Only 
at the last moment, so to speak, before he wrote 
his " gospel " did the current idea of the Logos 
(the divine Word or Reason or Power always active 

1 Op. cit., chap, vi, p. 209. 

8 Pp. 166 ff. This argument is substantially also Harnack's, 
see p. 167. See also D. C. Somervill, A Short History of our Re- 
ligion (G. Bell & Son), p. Ill : "A kind of preface or prologue, 
which may also be regarded as an epilogue or summing up of^ the 
whole matter." 

3 See John v 38, x 35, xv 25, xvii 6, 14, 17. This is also the 
sense of " the word " in 1 John i 2. 


ill the universe) suggest itself to the author as a 
suitable term to express the nature and functions 
of the Son. So he formulates his dogmatic prologue 
with the help of the new term with which both 
his Jewish training and his Asiatic experience had 
made him familiar. Thus the idea of the prologue 
must be thought of as having presented itself to 
his mind only after the narrative and ideas of the 
body of the Gospel were already formed and fixed, 
and, Dr. Stanton would say, after the First Epistle 
had been written. Further, the bulk of the Gospel 
must represent matter which had already become 
familiar in the oral instruction given to the congrega- 
tions of Asiatic Christians. 1 

Dr. Stanton also indicates with admirable precision 
how closely akin the idea of the divine sonship of 
Jesus, as presented in the Fourth Gospel, is to what 
is found already in the foundation documents of 
the Synoptic Gospels 2 to the conception of divine 
sonship implied in the narrative of the Temptation 
and presented in great sayings of our Lord which 
have been already examined ; and how the ideas 
of St. John vi about Christ, as through His flesh 
and blood the spiritual food of the world, are really 
implied in the language which He is recorded to 
have used, in the Synoptic Gospels and by St. Paul, 
at the Last Supper. On such grounds Dr. Stanton 
argues that the idea of the divine sonship of Jesus 
presented in the body of the Gospel must be accepted 

1 See pp. 50. 282. 

8 Pp. 267 ff. Cp. Harnack, The Sayings of Jesus, p. 302 : "If 
the first evangelist himself wrote the passage [St. Matt, xi 25-7] 
as we read it, then even with the most cautious interpretation of 
the passage, his own Christology approached very nearly to that 
of the Johannine writings in one of the most important points." 
In view of the fact that the saying occurs in substantially identical 
form in St. Matthew and St. Luke, and must therefore have so 
occurred in Q, we should substitute for Harnack's opening words 
something of this kind " If, as we cannot doubt, the first recorder 
of our Lord's words, whose written record lies behind all our present 
Gospels, wrote the passage as we read it," etc. 


as resting on genuine utterances of Christ, and he 
shows the reasonableness of believing that, if such 
utterances were really made as the Synoptists record, 
they were more frequently and more emphatically 
made than there appears. "It is improbable that 
such sayings could have been spoken, and yet have 
stood alone in the intercourse of Jesus with His 
disciples. Even in order that they might be rendered 
intelligible, and be duly impressed upon their minds, 
they would need to be repeated." Dr. Stanton 
also argues afresh with great force how well the 
Synoptic narrative can be fitted into the frame- 
work of the story of the Fourth Gospel, and I should 
add how much on the whole it gains thereby in 

I have written so much by way of preface because 
w r riters are apt to assume that, if they reject the 
direct authorship of St. John the son of Zebedee, 
they can dispose of the whole Gospel as a work of 
pious imagination. I do not agree that the direct 
authorship can be rejected. But what I think is a 
prejudice against the authorship of St. John is still 
a very strong prejudice, and it seems to me very 
important that the world which especially claims 
to be critical should remember that it has still to 
reckon with the Fourth Gospel, both as to its incidents 
and its teaching, as making an historical claim which 
cannot be ignored, and representing a tradition quite 
independent of St. Paul. 

I always find myself impressed by the fact that 
this Gospel four times calls attention to occasions 
when the disciples failed to apprehend at the time 
the meaning of some word of Jesus, and only after- 
wards in retrospect perceived what it had really 
been, 1 and also calls attention to our Lord's having 
promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit, whom 
they were to receive after His departure, would so 
1 John ii 22, viii 27, x 6, xii 16. 


act within their minds as not only to interpret what 
they remembered of His words, but also to bring out 
of their "subconscious selves" what had been 
forgotten or ignored. 1 That such should have been 
their experience seems to me to be thoroughly in 
accordance with human nature. 2 Thus I am disposed 
to believe that the record of our Lord's words con- 
tained in the common matter of St. Matthew and 
St. Luke represents the first memory of what He had 
said, more or less exactly as He said it, but the 
Fourth Gospel gives us what had been a gradually 
growing recollection in the mind of St. John and 
probably of others, viz. that the sayings of our Lord 
about His divine sonship had been more frequent 
and more emphatic than the earliest record had 

Here in the Fourth Gospel, then, St. John, pre- 
supposing the Synoptic record, supplements it with 
incidents and discourses especially intended to bear 
on the point of divine sonship. 3 Thus, apart from 
the comments of the Evangelist, so far as they can 
be kept distinct from the words of Christ, we have 
a discourse of Christ (cap. v) in which He asserts 

1 xiv 26, cf. xiii 7. 

1 D. C. Somerviil, op. cit., p. 106, quotes from Mr. Bruce Glasier's 
memoir of William Morris, written twenty-five years after his 
death, the following : "I have found that my memory is, on many 
occasions, subject to what seems to be a sort of ' illumination ' or 
* inspiration.' Thus when I have fixed my mind on one, say, of 
the incidents recalled in these chapters, the scene has begun to 
unfold itself, perhaps slowly at first, but afterwards rapidly and 
clearly. Meditating upon it for a time, I have lifted my pen and 
begun to write. Then to my surprise the conversations, long 
buried or hidden somewhere in my memory, have come back to 
me sometimes with the greatest fulness, word for word, as we say. 
Nay, not only the words, but the tones, the pauses and the gestures 
of the speaker." My own belief is that in the Fourth Gospel the 
memory of incidents and things seen is precise and clear cut. But 
the memory of words, though true in its ultimate substance, has 
become in its form transmuted and sometimes enlarged by medita- 
tion. In almost all cases, however, clear-cut sayings of our Lord 
which are original and verbally genuine can be discerned. 

3 See xx 31. 


at once, as always, His subordination to the Father, 
but also His constant association with Him in His 
works, in such general sense as, perhaps, suggests 
His co-operation with the Father even in the processes 
of nature. " My Father worketh hitherto, and I 
work " (v 17-18). The co-operation actually asserted 
(verses 19-29) is something quite transcending the 
human level, though He who so works is called 
" Son of Man." i That is to say, there is asserted 
a divine sonship belonging to the Son of Man under 
human conditions, which yet can only belong to the 
man, because He had come into His manhood out 
of a pre-existence in God. 1 This is affirmed again 
and again in the next chapter (vi 38, 41, 62), as 
also that He is to return, in His manhood, to the 
heaven whence He came. Again in the discourse 
of chapter viii this pre-existent sonship is affirmed 
and identified with the eternal existence of God 
(verse 58). Again the Son and the Father are 
declared to be one thing (x 80) and, as has been 
explained above, 2 I do not think the apparent 
minimizing of this claim (verses 33-86), when the 
Jews rightly understood it as a claim of Godhead, 
can be taken at its face value. The almost startling 
incompatibility of the minimizing explanation of 

1 There are two assertions by our Lord that " the Father " is 
" greater " than He (x 29, xiv 28). It has been long a matter 
of controversy in the Church (see Westcott's note) whether this 
superior " greatness " of the Father to the Son refers to the God- 
head of the Son or to His manhood. It seems to me that the words 
so far like the words of our Lord recorded in St. Mark and St. 
Matthew, asserting the Son's ignorance of the day and hour of the 

i " end of the world " are spoken by the Son in His manhood 
and with direct reference to His present human state, but that 
it is not an adequate explanation of them to say that they describe 

; Him as " inferior to the Father as touching His manhood." For 
they refer not to His manhood merely (which, according to the 
teaching of the Church, had no separate personal existence) but 
to Himself. They seem to me to describe an inferiority which 
the incarnation of the Son has (so to speak) intensified, but which 
depends upon and postulates an eternal subordination. 
'See pp. 28 f. 


His divine sonship with the general argument of 
the Gospel does indeed give us a guarantee that the 
Evangelist would not have preserved the words 
unless he had felt sure that they were really spoken 
by our Lord ; but I think they must be interpreted, 
not as minimizing His meaning, but as intended to 
force the Jews to consider that, according to their 
authoritative Scriptures, something much less than 
Godhead would justify a claim of divine sonship 
in some sense. They could not, therefore, dispose 
of His inconvenient claim upon them merely by 
repudiating its full implication. More than this 
kind of meaning cannot be attached to this strange 
and isolated passage consistently with the constant 
tenor of the Gospel as a whole. 

In the last discourses immediately before His 
passion our Lord is constantly represented as one 
who was conscious of having in one sense come 
from God but without thereby leaving God, for 
He was still abiding in the Father and the Father 
in Him, and to see Him is to see the Father and 
as being immediately to return to God to resume 
an interrupted glory and to fulfil the purpose of 
His mission by the bestowal of the Spirit, whom 
the Father is to send in His name and at His hands. 1 
We shall have to return upon these last discourses 
about the Holy Spirit. All that we need now to 
do is to assure ourselves that in them, as in the rest 
of the Gospel, what we are presented with, in our 
Lord's words, is an indisputable and constantly 
reiterated assertion on His part of divine sonship. 
This is primarily an assertion of what He was then 
and there in His manhood ; but it is also frequently 
and plainly implied that He has been through the 
ages the Son with the Father, dependent upon Him 
for His very life, but also belonging essentially to 
the divine being ; that He came into the world 
1 xir 16, 26, xv 26, xvi 7. 



voluntarily in fulfilment of a divine mission of re- 
demption to accept death at the hands of men for 
their salvation and that He was about to resume 
an interrupted glory on His return to heaven as 
Son of Man, carrying thither His manhood to become 
through the Spirit, whom He is to send down from 
the Father upon His chosen body, the fountain head 
of a new life. 

Now I do not say that the author of the Fourth 
Gospel was unacquainted with St. Paul. That can 
hardly have been the case. But I say that all this 
body of teaching appears to have grown quite inde- 
pendently of St. Paul. It has its own independent 
phraseology and characteristic ideas, notably the 
dominant ideas of " li^ht " and " life " and " truth," 
of the conflict of belief and unbelief, of judgment 
perpetually being enacted, and of eternal life already 
enjoyed. And it must be held to rest upon the 
foundation of a real tradition of the words of Jesus 
in the churches of Asia and in the school of St. 
John ; for myself I go farther, and believe it records 
both the real memory and the deep meditation of 
St. John as given us by himself. And I do not 
see any point at which the record of the Fourth 
Gospel apart from the prologue, which has still 
to be considered suggests the influence of the 
current Logos-philosophy of the Hellenistic world. 
There is really nothing needed to account for it 
but the Old Testament and the actual life and 
teaching of Christ. 

The outcome of this experience upon the author 
has been to generate an idea of Christ as to the nature 
of which he leaves us in no doubt. He believed 
that Christ, the Son of Man, was the eternal Son of 
God, who is very God. He identifies Him with the 
Jehovah of the Old Testament, for he speaks of 
Isaiah as having seen His (Christ's) " glory " when, 
in his vision in the temple, he saw the form of Jehovah 


sitting upon His throne l ; and he represents the 
penitent Thomas as calling the risen Jesus " my 
Lord and my God." Also he plainly believes the 
eternal Son of God to have come or been sent by 
God into the world as man the Son of Man. But 
there does not seem to me to be any trace of a belief 
in a pre-existent man or Son of Man. It was the 
pre-existent Son of God who was sent into the world 
(iii 16-18) as Son of Man, and who after His death 
and resurrection carried that manhood into heaven 2 
in pursuance of a divine purpose of redemption. 
This alone gives a fair interpretation of the language 
of the Gospel as a whole. The author's mind is 
preoccupied with making it evident that Jesus was 
really the Son of God. But he leaves us in no doubt 
as to the reality of His manhood, both bodily and 
spiritual. 3 

All this belief of "St. John " concerning Jesus 
grew, I believe with Dr. Stanton, on the ground of 
a real historical tradition or (I should say) of a real 
memory, and in substance antedates the prologue. 
It is with this belief already in his mind that, when 
he came to give his Gospel written form, he found in the 

1 See Burney, op. cit., p. 37. 

* In vi 62 our Lord is represented as anticipating His ascension : 
" What and if ye see the Son of man ascending up where he was 
before." In iii 13 I think we must suppose that we have a re- 
flection of the Evangelist and not a word of Christ. The ascension 
has plainly already occurred. The sense in which " the Son of 
man came down from heaven " is denned by the verses which 
follow. It is in the sense that " God sent his Son " (verses 16 
and 17) and His " only begotten Son " (verse 18) into the world 
to save the world and that He came to save the world as man, the 
Son of Man. 

3 No doubt the reality of our Lord's manhood physically is 
what he sees represented symbolically in the blood from His pierced 
side, xix 34-5. Cf. 1 John v 6 ; see my Exposition of St. John's 
Epistles, in loc. ; see John iv 6 and xix 28 for His being tired and 
thirsty. Dr. Burkitt (The Gospel History and its Transmission* 
p. 233) has the courage to say that " In no early Christian document 
is the real humanity of Jesus so emphasized as in the Fourth 
Gospel." The reality of His human spirit and human sympathy 
appears in xi 33-8 xii 27, xiii l.etc. 


current idea of the Logos (the word or reason of God) 
the best vehicle for expressing his doctrine in a concise 
and dogmatic shape, such as would arrest the imagi- 
nation and conciliate the sympathies of the world for 
which he was writing. For his world was plainly 
one deeply liable at the moment to be diverted by 
the rising tide of " Gnostic " speculation from the 
belief in the Incarnation, or (what is the same thing) 
the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. It appears 
indeed very vividly in St. John's Epistles that his 
world was a troubled world a world full of move- 
ments calculated to mislead and destroy this funda- 
mental faith. 1 And all these movements would 
recognize in the term " the Logos " one of their 
keywords or favourite thoughts. 

For the Hellenistic world was possessed with the 
idea of a Law or Force or Mind moulding and govern- 
ing the universe. This was the God immanent in 
the world, "in whom we live and move and have 
our being," of which the mind or spirit in each man 
was a minute portion. This current belief was of 
Stoic origin. Obviously, like the modern more or 
less pantheistic utterances of Shelley and Goethe and 
Wordsworth (in his earlier phase), this philosophy 
responds to a widespread demand of the human spirit 
that it shall be able to see God in all things and 
to feel its own kinship with the divine. Before St. 
John's days it had taken many different forms and 
moved in many different directions. Thus a Jew of 
Alexandria before our Lord's time, in the Book of 

1 The signs of trouble are apparent in 1 John i 18-26, iv 1-6, 
v 6-10; 2 John 7-11. The precise nature of this hostile move- 
ment I have sought to describe ha Epistles of St. John, pp. 109 S., 
165 ff., 170 f., 191 ff. It denied St. John's central faith, viz. that 
in the man Jesus the highest and lowest had become one that 
the man Jesus was really and personally the Son of God come in 
the flesh, and it denied this by separating the man Jesus from the 
divine Christ, who was represented only as coming down upon the 
man at His baptism out of the heavenly regions and leaving Him 
before His passion. 


Wisdom, had assimilated this Hellenistic belief in a 
divine energy and law and spirit, immanent in the 
world, and had identified it with the Wisdom of God. 
As we have already seen, 1 in this beautiful little book 
Wisdom appears as something more than a mere 
personification of a divine quality. It is a living 
being, as well as a pervasive force throughout the 
whole universe. It is a spirit expressive of the inner 
being of God, and it is the revealer of God in nature 
and to man through His saints and prophets. Here 
we have an intermediate being presented to us inter- 
mediate between the supreme and inaccessible God 
and the material world. And it is a very active 
power, which later on in the book, under the name of 
the Word of God, is described as leaping down from 
the divine throne to work His miracles of judgment 
upon Egypt, " a stern warrior into the midst of the 
doomed land." 2 

Later Philo, the Jew of Alexandria, elaborated this 
conception of an intermediate being, whether we are 
to call it person or no, who as the divine Logos is 
not only the immanent reason and law of the world, 
but also the active instrument of God and the re- 
vealer of His mysterious being. This idea of an 
intermediate being between the high and inaccessible 
God and the material world became exceedingly popular 
in all sorts of forms. But outside the influence of 
the Jewish religion it is almost always associated 
with the notion of matter as essentially evil, so that 
the supreme God could not be conceived of as either 
responsible for creating it, or enduring to come in 
immediate contact with it. Nor was the human 
imagination generally content with one divine or 
semi-divine intermediate being. The world teemed 
with beliefs in mysterious "powers" or "Gods," 
who in various ways represented a divine activity 
for man's enlightenment and salvation. These powers 

1 Above, p. 92. ? Wisd. xviii 15. 



were identified with the Gods of old popular beliefs 
for example with the old nature spirits who died 
in the decay of autumn and lived again in the rebirth 
of spring. These now reappear as Saviour Gods, 
who will redeem men from the endless flux and 
misery of material life and bring them by a new birth, 
symbolically represented, into the security of the 
heavenly life beyond death. All these kinds of 
beliefs whether in the Logos as immanent mind or 
spirit of the universe, or in the Logos as an inter- 
mediate being between the supreme God and the 
material world, or in divine persons, vaguely con- 
ceived, through whom, by mysteries of initiation 
and sacramental participation, men can be saved 
from the miseries and fluctuations of material life and 
brought into the upper world of light and eternity 
were already at work in the Hellenistic world, 
that is the world of mixed Oriental and Greek culture, 
when Christianity came into it. Obviously, this 
class of beliefs provided a condition in the souls of 
men, or a spiritual atmosphere, favourable to the 
spread of any religion of redemption or salvation, 
like the Christian religion. Obviously also, with 
its innumerable intermediate beings, or its one 
Logos neither really God nor really man, and with 
its almost universal belief in matter as so evil a 
thing that the high God could not directly touch it 
or be responsible for it, this whole class of beliefs 
was calculated, in its many movements, to pervert 
fundamentally the Christian tradition. 

This St. John sees very vividly. Thus in the Pro- 
logue to his Gospel he accepts the term Logos, which 
has both its Hellenistic meanings such as we have 
been describing, and also its properly Jewish meaning, 
which we are very familiar with in the Old Testa- 
ment" the word of God " by which He created 
the world and proceeds forth to govern His people 
through His prophets, and to chastise the rebellious 


with His judgments. He seems to say to the Jewish 
world " All that you have believed about God as 
proceeding forth by His word to create and govern 
nature, and to reveal Himself to man by His prophets, 
belongs to Jesus, and in Him is consummated." 
And to the Hellenistic world " All that you hare 
imagined of a divine activity in the world and a 
divine spirit, all that you have dreamed of a divine 
mediator or mediators between the highest and 
the lowest, and of mysteries of salvation, here have 
their justification and fulfilment, and also their 

Now I will attempt to paraphrase the prologue so as 
to bring out its general meaning, 1 referring from time 
to time to sayings in the Gospel which illustrate it. 

At the beginning, before the world was, you must 
think of God as having already with Him His Wordj 
the expression of Himself, God with God ; and the 
whole world of created things without exception was 
brought into being through this Word. Nor must 
you think of the Word as a mere quality of God, but 
as a person with God, in whom is life in its fulness. 
[As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He 
given to the Son to have life in Himself.] Thus as 
all the life in creation is from Him, so specially is 
the life of men. To them as rational beings life 
is given in their reason and conscience as light 
that is as illumination and guidance, as a " way " to 
be chosen and followed. So the light is given to 
all men. But men have loved darkness rather than 
light. They have followed their own desires and 
fancies instead of the divine leading. That is what 
we see in the world at large. The light is shining in 
the darkness and the darkness has not admitted it. 2 
So it was when John the Baptist came, who was 

1 Where the reading is disputed, or the punctuation, I simply 
take what seems to me the better reading or stopping. 

8 Or " nevertheless the darkness has never overwhelmed the light." 


not indeed the Light, but was a witness to the Light, 
calling men to faith in Another. And all the time 
that Other, the Word who is the True Light, lighten- 
ing every man who comes into the world, was coming, 
and at last He came. The world to which He came 
\ras His own, as He was the creator of it, but it 
would not recognize Him. He came thither as to 
His own possession, but men His own refused to 
receive Him. That is, most men refused, but there 
were some who welcomed Him, and they received 
from Him the title to sonship of God, as all men 
receive it who believe on Him as He has disclosed 
Himself. This sonship is given by a new birth, not by 
the methods of natural birth. It proceeds not from 
mixture of human seeds, nor from carnal desire, 
nor from the will of a man, but purely from the will 
of God. 1 And all this coming of God into the world 
to enlighten and to regenerate those who would receive 
Him reached its fulfilment thus the Word became 
ilesh. Our creator and illuminator took our nature 
and tabernacled among us, as the glory of God taber- 
nacled among the people of Israel 2 ; and we His 

1 Aa will bo Been, the phrases used, " not from bloods (i.e. the 
mingling of human seeds) nor carnal desire, nor the will of a man 
(a husband)," describe exactly the negative conditions of the 
human birth of Jesus of a virgin mother. Many of the early Fathers 
in fact had the singular, not the plural, in their text of St. John. 
They read it " who was born." Some modern scholars, including 
Dr. Inge and Dr. Burney, accept this as the original reading. I do 
not think this is probable. But I think it is certain (with Dr. 
Ohase, Zahn and others) that the passage describes our new birth 
to divine sonship after the pattern picture of His birth who alone 
IB in the fullest sense Son of God : so that the reader is reminded 
of a begetting and birth which took place without carnal impulse 
or the act of any man. 

* In this phrase " the Word was made flesh and tabernacled 
among us, and we beheld His glory " St. John has brought 
together three characteristic Jewish ideas, which the Aramaic 
iTargums lead us to believe were already in current use : Memra (the 
Word of God, constantly used to express God in action), Shekinta 
or (Hebrew) Shekinah (the tabernacle or abiding-place of God 
among His people, as above the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, 
and on special occasions besides), and Yekara (the glory which 


witnesses who speak to you beheld His glory, be- 
holding God in Him, as men see a father in his only 
son, full of the divine favour and truth. Here was 
one greater than John the Baptist and prior to 
him, as he himself bore witness : here was one who 
could do and give what Moses could not do or give. 
For the vision of God has been always unattain- 
able to men : but here God only-begotten, the 
Son, whose place is in the bosom of the Father, 
hath interpreted Him [as He said, " He that hath 
seen me hath seen the Father "]. 

It is after this preface in which " the writer plainly 
announces the full and ultimate conclusion of beliefs 
to which he has come," x that he begins his story. 

There is one point on which I ought to make my 
meaning clear before leaving St. John. 

It has been for long a matter of ceaseless discus- 
sion whether St. John's term the Logos is derived 
from the Hebrew and Palestinian tradition or from 
the Hellenistic world of thought. I cannot but believe 
that in St. John's own mind its origin and mean- 
ing are fundamentally Palestinian and Jewish. I do 
not deny that he chooses the term as one familiar 
to the Hellenists. That I have already said. I do 
not suppose he had ever read Philo or any Stoic 
philosopher. But the idea and the word ** Logos " 
were in the atmosphere of the Asiatic churches and 
St. John with great discernment as it appeared 
sees in it the best word to interpret to his generation 
the idea of the Son of God and His relation to the 
world both before and in the Incarnation. Neverthe- 
less his own mind accepts and uses the term rather 

under the cloudy veil shows itself in flashes). See below, p. 128, 
and cf. Burney, pp. 35 ff. 

1 See Dr. H. S. Holland, The Philosophy of Faith and the Fourth 
Gospel, p. 262. I was delighted to read in Dr. Armitage Robinson's 
recent lecture on the Fourth Gospel, given in Manchester Cathedral , 
an enthusiastic appreciation of the value of Dr. Holland's inter- 
pretation of the Fourth Gospel. 


in the Hebrew than in the Greek sense. Not exclu- 
sively, but on the whole and first of all, the term in 
Greek meant Reason : while in the Old Testament 
the Word of God meant not reason at all, but the 
utterance of the will of God, or the expression of 
His mind. So as applied by St. John to the Son 
it means at bottom much what St. Paul meant by 
calling Him God's " image," and the author of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews by calling Him " the expres- 
sion of his substance." 

In the Targums, or Aramaic interpretations of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, " the Word (Memra) of God " is 
constantly used where the Hebrew speaks simply of 
God. 1 The "Word of God" is almost " God in 
action." In this sense, as has been already men- 
tioned, " the Word of God " occurs in the Book of 
Wisdom, 2 and in a closely allied sense " the Wisdom 
of God." Dr. Rendel Harris 8 has shown how 
closely the phrases of St. John's prologue are modelled 
upon the description of the activity of the divine 
Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs and, still more, 
in the Book of Wisdom. St. John was probably 
acquainted with the Targums, which were already 
assuming fixed form, and with Proverbs and Wisdom. 
So it was from Jewish sources that he derived the 
term which he chose to express the scope and mean- 
ing of the Incarnation. But we cannot doubt 
that its familiar use in the Hellenic world, of which 
he cannot have been ignorant, partly determined 
his choice. In the generation after St. John it was 
chiefly in its Hellenic sense that the phrase came 
to be understood. But it was not so in St. John's 
mind, nor did his Gospel grow on any Hellenic soil. 4 

1 See the passages quoted by Burney, op. cit. p. 38. 
1 Wisd. xviii 15, see above, p. 117. 

3 See his Prologue to St. John's Gospel, Camb., 1917. 

4 For the argument of Reitzenstein, who would trace the whole 
intellectual and mystical substance of the Fourth Gospel to a Hellen- 
Btic (Qraeco -Egyptian) source, see appended note at the end of 
the chapter, p. 133. 



We have passed in review the Synoptic Gospels, 
the Acts, the Epistles of St. Paul and that to the 
Hebrews, and the Gospel of St. John. In these 
Epistles and in the Fourth Gospel we have found 
a clearly expressed doctrine of Jesus Christ as an 
eternal and divine person, the Son of God, the divine 
agent in the creation and maintenance of all that 
exists, who at the last was incarnate for man's 
redemption in Jesus Christ. We have found the 
grounds of this doctrine in the Synoptic Gospels. 
Nothing else can explain the impression made by 
Jesus upon the disciples and His own language 
about His divine sonship. In the first part of the 
Acts, however, before the appearance of St. Paul 
upon the scene, we seem to find a situation in which 
Jesus, as the exalted and glorified Christ, is indeed 
treated as divine and worshipped as divine, but in 
which no question of pre-existence or divine sonship 
seems to be entertained. This situation is often 
represented as if the first disciples regarded Christ 
as strictly only a human person who, as Christ, had 
been exalted to divine honours on the throne of 
God, or deified. This is what is called the " adop- 
tionist " theory of Christ's divinity. It played its 
part as a heresy among Jewish Christians in the 
second century under the name of Ebionism, and 
it was the clearly defined doctrine of Paul of Samo- 
sata in the third. But it is quite misleading so to 
describe the state of mind of the first Christians 
in Jerusalem. Ebionism, or Paul of Samosata's 
doctrine, was a clearly held theory. On the other 
hand, the Jerusalem church appears to have existed 
for some years without any theory, simply because 
their minds were absorbed in the sense of the glorified 
Christ, the Lord of all, at the right hand of God, 
and of the Spirit whom He had given them. Their 


creed was, " Jesus is Christ and Lord. He has 
given us the Spirit." But when, after a few years, 
the converted Saul felt at once the pressing need of 
a theory of Christ's person, and found this need 
satisfied in Christ's own language about His sonship 
to God, and so proclaimed the doctrine of the In- 
carnation, his words excited no dismay or dispute. 
Universally, as far as we know, the churches accepted 
his position. This means that, though hitherto 
they had not felt the pressure of the need for an 
explanation of their worship of the glorified Christ, 
yet, when once it was felt, they found it not in 
adoptionism but in the theory of the Incarnation ; 
and they found the warrant of this doctrine in Christ's 
own language. I cannot help thinking that in the 
memory and mind of some at least of the apostolic 
company this explanation must have been ferment- 
ing under the surface of their public witness before 
St. Paul appeared ; otherwise his teaching would 
have excited more comment. The celebration of 
the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, as well 
as the memory of some of His words, must, one 
would think, inevitably have led to such thoughts. 
What remains for us to do is to examine the rest of 
the documents of the New Testament, those especially 
which appear to be most independent of St. Paul, to 
sec whether " adoptionism " is to be found in them, 
and first of all the most non-Pauline of all the books, 
the greatest expression of the spirit of Jewish apo- 
calypse, the " Revelation of John the Divine." 

(a) The Revelation. 

There is no more thrilling book in the literature 
of the world than the Apocalypse of John. It is 
this quite independently of the question who John 
the Seer is, whether the " Son of Thunder," the 
apostle, or the supposed " Presbyter John," or 
whether the visions belong to an earlier or later date 


in the first century problems which we need not dis- 
cuss. 1 And it is also the most Judaic book in the New 
Testament, beyond all question. The God who there 
confronts us in all His majesty and all His tremendous 
activity of judgment, is the God of the Old Testament 
in His most fearful aspects. There are touches of 
tenderness, but they are rare. If this book is really 
written by the author of the Fourth Gospel and 
the First Epistle of John, then we must suppose 
that the acute crisis of persecution forced the Apostle 
to concentrate his mind for the time on that part 
of the truth about God which the Son of Thunder 
had never forgotten, but which had been pressed 
into the background by the fresher revelation of 
divine, self-sacrificing love. Now the tremendous 
God of Justice God the almighty and God the 
avenger occupies the whole stage. But with one 
startling difference. The One God of this uncom- 
promising Jewish monotheism has a partner on His 
throne. It is now " the throne of God and of the 
Lamb," and the adoration of the whole world is 
directed towards His partner as to Him. There 
can be no question that Jesus, " the Lamb as it had 
been slain," is on the throne of God and treated as 
God, And there can be no doubt that this exalta- 
tion of the Lamb to divine functions and honours 
is explained on the principle of merit. It is the 1 
reward of His supreme self-sacrifice. 2 All this 
suggests the " Adoptionist " Christology sometimes 
ascribed to the Apocalypse. But we are pulled 
up short at the idea of such an ascription. Is it 
conceivable that in a book so intensely Jewish 
another should be equalled to God ? Has God, the 
God of Israel, forgotten His ancient " jealousy " ? 

1 Of course Burney's theory of the Aramaic original of the Gospel 
enables him easily to assign Gospel and Apocalypse to the same 
person the presbyter John for the Greek of tha Gospel is nofc 
his Greek, but a translation. 

J See Rev. v. 


There is, we notice, twice in the book, when John 
would " worship " an angelic messenger, a stern 
repudiation on his part of the homage which only 
God must receive. 1 Well then, we are bound to be, 
as I say, pulled up short at the proposed intrusion 
into the heart of Judaism of an idea so alien to it. 
We look again at the language of the Apocalypse. 
Certainly there is no theory of Christ's person there. 
But there are two points which are enlightening. 

(1) That the great phrase (in part taken from 
Isaiah), which is here heard from the lips of God 
to signify His activity from the beginning of time 
to the end of it " the Alpha and the Omega, the 
first and the last " is also heard from the lips of 
Christ. 2 This means unmistakably that the associa- 
tion of Christ in the activity of God had no beginning 
in time. No doubt it was only in time that He was 
glorified as God in His manhood. But what rendered 
that possible was His co- existence and co-ordination 
with God from the beginning. 

(2) Such also is the lesson of the figure whose 
! name is called the Word of God. 3 This surely is 

an intensely Jewish phrase. " The Word " here is 
not, I think, used as in the prologue to the Gospel. 
But it indicates something intensely active and 
energetic. It reminds us of the startling simile 
in the Book of Wisdom, already referred to more 
than once, where the Word of God is figured as a 
warrior leaping off His divine throne to rush in a 
moment to execute divine justice. It is the activity 
of God personified, as He has shown Himself in the 
government of the world. But we cannot question 
that the figure on the horse in the Apocalypse is 
Christ, 4 and this also means that the seer of the 
Apocalypse identified Jesus the Christ with the 

1 xix 10, xxii 9, and contrast i 17. 

See i 8, xxi 6, on the lips of God , cf. Is. xli 4, xliii 10, xliv 6. 
On the lips of Christ, i 17, ii 8, xxii 13. 

3 xix 11-16. * See Swete's and Charles' notes on the passage. 


divine warrior of the Old Testament, that is with 
God the world ruler. Decisively then, we must 
say that the theology of the Apocalypse is not 
adoptionist. The person who is Jesus existed 
from the beginning with God and in God. 

(b) The Epistle of James 

When we pass to the Epistle of James we pass 
to another deeply Judaic document. And it is, as 
concerns both its origin and its date, a rather mysteri- 
ous document, though, on the whole, I think we may 
still assign it to " the Lord's brother," and date it 
accordingly before he was executed (as Josephus tells 
us) in Jerusalem, under Annas the Younger, the 
Jewish High Priest, in A.D. 62. As to its spiritual 
and moral value, it speaks for itself as plainly as 
any document of the New Testament. It is full of 
the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount, and no less 
clearly of the spirit of the ancient prophets and the 
Wisdom literature. Theologically there is very little 
in it that is specifically Christian as distinct from 
what is Jewish. It is severely monotheist. 1 There 
is also plainly no trace of St. Paul's influence, and 
the writer appears to combat, not St. Paul's doctrine 
of justification, as written in his Epistles, but some 
perverted version of it. 2 His main interest is, I 
think, rightly interpreted by Hort. It is in the 
ideal for man disclosed by the word of God at his 
creation, to which his conscience bears witness, and 
which it is God's present purpose that he should 
recover. " Grace," St. James would say, " is not 
contrary to nature, but the restoration of nature." 

As to the person of Christ, with which alone we 
are here concerned, there are three indications of 
St. James's mind. (1) In his initial greeting to his 

1 ii 19, iv 12. 

Fundamentally St. James' doctrine of justification ia easily 
harmonized with St. Paul's. 


Jewish readers he couples the Lord Jesus Christ 
with God as He whose servant or slave he is ; and the 
more we think of this familiar phrase the more fully 
it seems to involve the deity of Jesus, when it is 
used by a faithful Jew ; for it means that he can 
surrender himself as wholly to Jesus as to God, and 
that, in fact, the one surrender involves the other. 
(2) At the end of the Epistle he speaks in one group 
of connected sentences of the " coming (parousia) of 
the Lord " (twice),* of " the name of the Lord " in 
which the prophets spoke ; and of " the end of the 
Lord," that is, His final dealings with Job. 1 Now 
the first phrase must refer to the Lord Jesus 2 and 
the second and third to the Lord Jehovah. But 
no one could use the same name thrice in such inti- 
mate connection without practical identification of 
the Lordship referred to in each case. (3) There is 
a very interesting phrase which may be paraphrased 
thus * : " My brethren, can you, while you keep 
showing respect of persons, really hold the faith of 
(or * in ') our Lord Jesus Christ, the Glory ? " Let 
us examine the phrase. 

The Jews spoke much of the glory of Jehovah. 
And in the latter days of Israel's religion, when the 
dread prevailed of speaking of Jehovah at all, or of 
connecting Him closely with earthly things, they 
often in the Aramaic, which had taken the place of 
the old Hebrew spoke of His Word [Memra], or 
His Glory [Yekara], or His abiding [Shekintah or 
Shekinah], for reverence sake, instead of speaking 
of Himself. So we find it in the Aramaic interpre- 
tations of the Hebrew Scripture, which are called 
Targums, and which were no doubt, if still unwritten, 
yet in familiar use in our Lord's day. " The term 
[Shekinah]," says Dr. Box, 4 "together with 'the 

1 T 7-1 1. So directly after (v 14) must " the name of the Lord." 
1 ii 1, following Hort. 
Hastings' Diet, of Christ and the Gospels, a.v. Shekinah. 


Glory ' and 4 the Word,' is used in the Targums as 
an indirect expression in place of God. It denotes 
God's visible presence and glorious manifestation, 
which dwells among men, the localized presence of 
the Deity. . . . The visible Shekinah, though distinct 
from the glory, is associated in the closest way with 
it. It was conceived of as the centre or source 
from which the glory radiated." We understand the 
idea, if we think of the words " the glory of the Lord 
appeared in the cloud " or the constantly repeated 
phrase " the Lord of Hosts which dwelleth between 
(or ' sitteth upon ') the cherubim," or " the glory 
of the Lord filled the house " (Solomon's temple), or 
the phrase of the son of Sirach concerning Ezekiel's 
vision : " the vision of glory, which God showed 
him upon the chariot of the cherubim." 1 This 
thought often explains uses of " glory " in the New 
Testament, as when " the glory " is reckoned by 
St. Paul among the privileges of Israel, 2 or Stephen 
speaks of " the God of the glory," s or the Epistle 
to the Hebrews of " the cherubim of glory." It 
refers to the manifested or localized presence of God. 
Thus either " the Shekinah " or " the Glory " would 
be for a Christian Jew a natural expression for our 
Lord, conceived of as the visible manifestation of 
God among men. Thus when St. John says " The 
Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, 
and we beheld his glory," he seems, as has already 
been suggested, to be using all three current Jewish 
expressions (Memra, Shekinah, Yekara) for the 
Incarnate. And when St. Peter speaks of " the 
spirit of the Glory and the spirit of God," he seems to 
be using " the Glory " as a name of Christ. 4 And 

1 Exod. xvi 10, xxv 22, Numb, vii 89, 1 Sam. iv 4, 2 Sam. vi 2, 
1 Kings viii 11, Ecclus. xlix 8. 

a Rom. ix 4. Acts vii 2. 

1 Pet. iv 14 ; cf. 1 Cor. ii 8. Hort and Parry are possibly 
right in rendering Tit. ii 13 " The manifestation of the Glory of 
our great God and Saviour, that is Jesus Christ." 


I think Dr. Hort must be right in so interpreting 
it here in St. James. He calls the Lord Jesus Christ 
the Glory, i.e. the visible manifestation of God 
among men ; and he would shame those whom 
he is addressing out of showing undue respect for 
wealthy persons by reminding them that " the Glory " 
dwelt among men in the guise of a poor man. On 
the whole, then, though James is almost wholly 
ethical in his interests and not theological, I think 
he indicates that, had he been bound to express 
himself, it would have been in the phraseology of 
St. Paul or St. John. The presence of his Epistle in 
the New Testament may be said to justify a Christi- 
anity that is almost purely ethical in its interests, 
but not an adoptionist Christology. 

The Epistle of Jude, " the brother of James," is 
again deeply Jewish, though the Judaism is of a 
more apocalyptic type, and it is also predominantly 
ethical. " The faith once for all delivered to the 
saints " for which he pleaded must have been a 
faith which laid its stress on morals. But he seems 
to show much more affinity than James with St. 
Paul's language. " But ye beloved, building up 
yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the 
Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, 
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ 
unto eternal life " is very Pauline phraseology. 
And " our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ," is 
hardly compatible with any lower Christology than 

(c) The First Epistle of Peter 

This Epistle must be taken on strong external 
evidence as authentic, and on the internal evidence 
as written by Peter from Rome, which he calls 
Babylon, no doubt very shortly before his martyrdom. 
It is a beautiful and gracious document, a real 
treasure-house of ethical and spiritual teaching, 


very strongly reminiscent of the Gospels and very 
closely akin to St. Paul's ethical teaching. In fact 
the Epistle bears such unmistakable suggestions of 
the influence of the Epistles to the Romans and the 
Ephesians, that we do not expect to find in it any 
different theology. St. Peter is plainly at one with 
St. Paul. 

The Epistle is written to men and women 
obviously Gentiles in the main who have been 
redeemed by God's infinite mercy out of a corrupt 
world and a most evil tradition into " the brother- 
hood " the elect body, the only true Israel, royal 
and sacerdotal. This brotherhood is now exposed 
to obloquy and persecution and is to expect the 
hand of judgment more and more severely ; but h 
is to bear it joyfully and charitably, looking forward 
to the radiant glory in store for them, when the risen 
and ascended Lord Jesus Christ is revealed. He is 
now at the right hand of God, above all angels and- 
spiritual powers, unseen but the object of their 
exultant faith. But He is to come. He is at hand 
to accomplish the judgment of God and the glory 
of His people. Thus the main stress, as in St. 
Peter's preaching in the Acts, is on the Lordship of 
Jesus at the right hand of God and on His coming. 

This passionate faith in Him and expectation of His 
coming is the basis of an intensely other-worldly out- 
look, but it is the basis none the less of a conception 
of a social life to be lived in this world which is te> 
compel the attention of those who are without the 
elect body. Besides the emphasis laid on the Coming 
in Glory there is strong emphasis on the present 
redemption from the evil world and atonement with 
God which has been wrought by Christ through 
His vicarious sacrifice and blood-shedding. 1 We 
notice the phrase " through Christ," which implies 
His mediatorship, 2 and the phrase "in Christ," 3 

1 i 18-21, ii 21 ff., iii 16. ii 5. iv 11. ^ iii 16, v 10, 14,. 


which here, as in St. Paul, implies His universal 
hpiritual presence. Again the Lordship of Jesus has 
phrases applied to it from the Old Testament (" The 
Lord is gracious," " sanctify Christ as Lord in your 
hearts ") which were written of Jehovah, the Lord 
of hosts. 1 Once more it is probable that in the 
phrase " the spirit of the glory and the spirit of 
God" (iv 14) Christ is described as " the Glory," 
that is the manifested presence of God the phrase 
which we have just considered in connection with 
St. James. 

When the question is asked whether Peter indicates 
the pre-existence of Christ, I think the answer is 
that he seems to indicate it, when he calls the spirit 
in the old prophets " the Spirit of Christ," and also 
when he is talking about the death of Christ and 
the condition and activity of His disembodied spirit. 
St. Peter speaks very clearly of the (human) spirit 
of Jesus as separated from the body in death, and 
of its activity in the unseen world ; and he seems to 
speak of Christ the person as something distinct 
from the human spirit in which He was acting. 
He went among the dead, without His human body, 
in respect of which He was dead, but in His human 
.spirit, which was quickened to a new life. 2 

(On the whole I think this Epistle indicates a 
mind predominantly ethical and practical and not 
theological. But also a mind which was at one with 
the theology of St. Paul in its main lines. 

The conclusion which we are bound to reach is 
that in St. Paul's Epistles and in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews and in St. John we get a definite and ex- 

1 iii IS^see Is. viii 12-13) and ii 3 (see Ps. xxxiv 8). 

2 iii 18-19. This is a point made by Dr. Chase (see Hastings' 
Diet, oj the Bible, iii 793). But I cannot agree with him that i 11 
Joes not seeua to imply a pre-existcnt Christ. 


plicit theology of the Person of Christ as the divine 
Son incarnate. The different writers have each 
of them his own point of view, but on the whole 
their theology is identical. There are other docu- 
ments of the New Testament which, taken by them- 
selves, give us no clear theology of Christ's person, 
but there is nothing in the New Testament which 
indicates a rival theology to St. Paul's, or what was 
later called an adoptionist Christology. Such a 
Christology did appear in the second century in 
the Jewish Ebionites and later hi Paul of Samosata. 
But it must be held to represent a falling away from 
the standpoint which is either energetically main- 
tained or implied in all the documents of the New 
Testament. We cannot read the Epistle to the 
Hebrews which represents to us among a group 
of Jewish Christians a " longing, lingering look 
behind," and a movement back to the old Judaism 
without feeling that a half-instructed Jewish 
Christianity must have existed fairly commonly, 
and most probably would have existed in Palestine, 
which would be very liable to relapse. Accordingly, 
it is no surprise to find that a generation later than 
the New Testament times such a relapse has occurred, 
and that, outside the main streams of Christian life, 
there are Christians who hold Christ for a mere man, 
assumed by God. But we do not find that position 
in the New Testament. 

NOTE TO P. 122 

Our studious friends, whose intellectual home is with 
the German critics, have lately been murmuring in our 
ears the name of the Strassburg scholar and philologist, 
Richard Reitzenstein, as of one whose theories supply 
a^new and powerful explanation of the real origin of 
Christian ideas and especially of " Johannine " ideas. 
Reitzenstein 1 does in effect suggest that the source of the 

1 Richard Reitzenstein'a Poimandres (Leipzig, 1904). 


characteristic Johannine ideas and of much else in the 
New Testament is to be found in the earliest documents 
of the Hermetic literature, which he dates from the 
first century of our era. The Hermetic literature he 
regards as representing a religious community which 
had its source in the identification of Hermes with the 
Logos as the revealer of divine wisdom, and with the 
Egyptian god Thot, venerated as the founder of Egyptian 
wisdom. Hitherto the Hermetic books the revelations 
of Hermes Trismegistus have been regarded as an ex- 
ample of Graeco-Egyptian syncretism, with Jewish and 
Christian elements at work in it, belonging to the third 
century, and presupposing the influence of Neo-Platonism; 
and Reitzenstein appears to have failed in his attempt to 
show cause to date any part of the literature in the first 
century. His grounds for assigning it this earlier date 
have been subjected by the Roman Catholic scholar, 
E. Krebs (Der Logos als Heiland, Freiburg im Breisgau, 
1910) to a very searching and careful examination, and 
he has shown them to be highly precarious and improb- 
able (op. cit., pp. 133 ff. ; cf. Ed. Meyer, Ursprung,ii pp. 
56-7). This is the opinion of most of the scholars who 
have examined the matter. And the whole conception of 
a wide-spreading Hermetic sect or community appears 
to be groundless. On the other hand Krebs has again 
excellently laid bare the purely Jewish roots of the 
ideas of the Fourth Gospel. As I have already said, in 
examining the attempt to find a Hellenistic origin for 
the faith in Jesus as Lord, and for the institution of 
the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, 1 I do not 
think anything really lies at the root of the doctrine of 
the New Testament except the tradition of the Old 
Testament and the new experience which came to the 
disciples of Jesus in His teaching and person, His life 
and death and resurrection, and the mission of the Spirit. 
All the New Testament grew from the Jewish root and 
this experience of Jesus, including the Gospel of Paul 
and the Gospel of John. 

But when you come to the second stage, to the spread 
of the Catholic Church, I think the new criticism which 
calls our attention to Hellenistic syncretism, and sets the 
1 See appended notes to cap. iii. 


Gnostic movement on its wider background, has much to 
teach us. With Christian origins Hellenism has very 
little to do. But the atmosphere of the mystery religions 
and of Hellenistic theosophy, with its yearning for divine 
fellowship and spiritual light and knowledge and salva- 
tion and a new birth, and its love of sacramental sym- 
bolism and fellowship, has a good deal to do with the 
diffusion of the Christian Church. It both provided its 
opportunity and constituted in part its peril ; and we 
shall have to return upon the modern theory of the in- 
fluence of the Hellenistic theosophy and the mystery 
religions, when we are dealing with the theory of the 
Church and the sacraments in the next volume. 



IT is undeniable that the apocalyptic expectation 
formed a large element in the faith of the first 
Church, and that it was, on the lowest estimate, a 
considerable feature in the teaching of Jesus. By 
the apocalyptic expectation we mean the expecta- 
tion that Jesus, the Christ, who had been crucified 
and now was risen and exalted to heaven, was " to 
come in glory " to " restore all things " and " to 
judge the quick and the dead." x The Church has 
long been accustomed to call this " the second 
coming " : and it is so referred to once or twice in 
the New Testament. 2 But almost always it is called 
simply " the coming " or " the presence " of Christ. 3 
This is the word common to St. Matthew, St. James, 
St. Paul, and St. John. The birth, the ministry, 
the passion, the resurrection, the effusion of the 
Spirit all these are indeed represented as mo- 
ments or stages in His coming. But all these are 
viewed as incomplete. Then and then only will 
He in an adequate sense have come, when He comes 
into His own, or God comes into His own in Him, 
in fully manifested glory, so that " every eye shall 
see him," and every adverse power shall have been 
put under His feet. This is the old fundamental 
Jewish hope of the " day of the Lord." And this 

1 Acts iii 21, x 42, xvii 31. 8 Heb. ix 28 ; cf. i 6. 

3 irapovffia. See Matt, xxiv 3, 27, 37, 39, James v 7-8, 1 These, 
ii 19, iii 13, iv 15, etc., 1 John ii 28. 



had, as we have seen, a very real and undeniable 
place in our Lord's own mind and teaching. No 
one therefore can think seriously about belief in 
Christ without fully facing this belief in the future 
coming of Christ in glory. But recently it has come 
to be widely and confidently stated and believed 
that Jesus Himself anticipated and proclaimed His 
immediate coming as the glorified Christ, within 
the lifetime of His own generation, and was in this 
(as in some other respects) deluded, or the victim 
of current ideas which were in fact illusions l ; and 
there has been a great deal of discussion of the bearing 
of these delusions of the mind of Christ upon the 
theology of His person. But we had better, first 
of all, see whether there is sufficient reason to attribute 
delusions to Him ; and w r e can only effectively do 
this if we have in view the Jewish expectation, 
Messianic and Apocalyptic, as it was before our 
Lord came, and take careful note of the way in which 
He both accepted it and also fundamentally altered 
its character. Then only can we estimate the justice 
with which delusion or mistake is attributed to Him 
as regards " the end " and the immediacy of the 

The Jews, as we have already seen, 2 were con- 
spicuous among the nations of the earth for their 
belief (i) in a divine purpose in the whole world, 
which was to be progressively realized and finally 
consummated, and (ii) in their own race as the divinely 
chosen instrument of this universal purpose, as it 
was said to Abraham, " In thy seed shall all the 

1 This however is of course not a merely recent difficulty for faith. 
I remember Professor Henry Sidgwick, shortly before his death in 
1900, telling me that it had been a main reason with him for 
renouncing orthodoxy forty years before. 

Other cases of presumed error in the mind and teaching of Jesus 
Christ as regards the existence and activity of Satan and devils, 
and as regards the literary character of the Old Testament books 
are dealt with below (pp. 189 ff.). 

1 See above, pp. 13 ff. 


families of the earth be blessed." This is the root 
of the Messianic hope as the prophets of Israel 
announced it ; and it takes shape in the following 
forms and features of the hope, which have been 
already discussed and will here only be alluded to : 

1. That the religion of Israel is finally to win 
universal sovereignty and universal recognition. 
fc * The mountain of the Lord's house shall be estab- 
lished in the top of the mountains and all nations 
shall flow unto it. ... Out of Zion shall go forth 
the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." * 

2. That Israel is the elect vehicle of this true 
religion, and that the anointed king of the family of 
David, who is to bear the divine name, and to fulfil 
the predestined glory of Israel, is to be the instrument 
of this divine supremacy, this Kingdom of God. 2 

3. That this Kingdom to come is to be accom- 
panied with, or be based upon, a new, more spiritual, 
and everlasting covenant between God and His 
restored people, 3 and the nations of the world recon- 
ciled to Israel. 

4. That also it is to be accompanied with an 
effusion of the Spirit of God, not only upon the 
anointed king, but upon the whole people upon 
all flesh. 4 

5. That also it must involve a resurrection from 
the dead of faithful Israelites who have died, that 
they too may participate in the Kingdom ; and 
this belief in the resurrection of faithful Israelites 
becomes a belief in a resurrection generally of all, 
good or evil alike, to glory or shame. 5 

6. This sovereignty of God requires for its estab- 
lishment the infliction of the judgment of God upon 

1 See above, pp. 15 f. * See above, pp. 16-17. 

3 See above, p. 18. 

4 Is. xi init. and Joel ii 28-9. In Is. xlii and Ixi the Spirit is 
poured upon " The Servant," who begins by being the faithful 
remnant of the people but seems to become an individual. 

6 Is. xxvi 4?. Dan. xii 2. 


every insolent and godless power in turn. The 
prophets are full of " oracles of Jehovah " upon 
Assyria, upon Egypt, upon Babylon, upon Edom, 
upon Tyre, upon " the nations " generally. The 
prophets announce like judgments upon apostate 
and rebellious Israel and Judah ; but on the whole 
with a marked difference. The judgments upon 
the nations are final and irreversible. 1 The judg- 
ment on Israel is, on the other hand, always figured 
as a severe and just discipline, out of which at least 
a faithful remnant is to emerge to fulfil the destiny 
of the chosen people. 

7. These particular judgments or dooms on par- 
ticular nations are again and again thrown upon 
the background of tremendous cosmic catastrophes. 
Thus the doom on Babylon (Is. xiii 10-13) has this 
background : " The stars of heaven and the con 
stellations thereof shall not give their light ; the 
sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the 
moon shall not cause her light to shine. ... I will 
make the heavens to tremble and the earth shall be 
shaken out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord 
of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger." Or 
again the doom on Edom (Is. xxxiv 4-5) is thus 
accompanied : " And all the host of heaven shall be 
dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled away as 
a scroll : and all their host shall fade away, as the 
leaf fadeth from off the vine, and as a fading leaf 
from off the fig-tree. For my sword hath drunk 
its fill in heaven : behold it shall come down upon 
Edom ... to judgment." I have chosen these 
two quotations because our Lord so precisely repeats 
the language of these two passages in His doom 
upon Jerusalem. 

What did Isaiah mean by such language ? We 
know that the Jewish seers and poets often repre- 
sent nature as expressing sympathy, even violently, 

1 Except in Jeremiah ; see above, p. 16 n. 3. 


with the redemptive acts of God. " Why hop ye so, 
ye high hills ? " " The hills melted like wax at the 
presence of the Lord." " The mountains and the 
hills shall break forth before you into singing, and 
all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." 
This is a kind of metaphor which we find in poets 
of many nations. It is akin to what Ruskin called 
the " pathetic fallacy." It is interesting to learn 
that mediaeval Jews in Spain commemorated thus 
the death of a certain Rabbi Isaac Alfasi, on May 12, 
1103 : " This day was a calamity : it was a day of 
misfortune and oppression, a day of darkness and 
gloom, a day of cloud and mist, a day when the 
heavens and their luminaries were obscured, when 
they were clothed with sackcloth. The stars put 
on mourning ; the hills bowed ; all Israel w r as 
terrified." And another epitaph on Rabbi Jona 
from the next century runs : " Son of Sion, before 
this stone weep for the sun buried beneath the 
dust of the earth ; the firmament was clothed with 
darkness, the constellations were ashamed : the 
moon blushed ; on the day when the glory and 
crown of the Law was buried." l Here we have, 
no doubt, nothing but conscious metaphor. All 
that is really meant is that two Rabbis died deeply 
regretted, and that nature must have sympathized 
with the sorrow of the Jews. 

But though such expressions as Isaiah uses may be 
conscious metaphors, they are not mere metaphors. 
They mean at least that in the prophet's vision the 
physical world served the moral purpose of God, 
and might at any moment be expected to express it. 
And in the latter days of prophecy, when the triumph 
of Israel over the nations seemed more and more 
impossible by natural means, apocalyptic seers 
more and more clearly anticipate cosmic catastrophe 

1 See Lagrange, Le Messianisme chez les Juifs (Paris, 1909), 
pp. 49-50. 


wrought by God in His omnipotence to end the 
present world order, and usher in " a new heaven 
and a new earth." 

So we get the idea of an " end of the world " 
followed by a " world to come," in the later literature. 
But in all the books of the Old Testament, and indeed 
in the New Testament, it appears to be always 
in some sense this world which emerges, renovated 
through cataclysm, as the sphere of the Kingdom 
of God. 1 Only in some of the later uncanonical 
Apocalypses, which seem in this respect to exhibit 
influences from Persia, this world seems to be wholly 
obliterated at the last day or wholly left behind, 
and an altogether " other*" world takes its place. 
' The earth however purged and purified is no 
fitting scene for an eternal kingdom. . . . God's 
habitation and that of the blessed must be built 
not of things earthly and corruptible, but of things 
heavenly and incorruptible." 2 But enough has 

1 This will be obvious to anyone who will read Is. xxiv seemingly 
a late prophecy incorporated in Isaiah where, after " the earth is 
utterly broken, the earth is clean dissolved," etc., it still appears 
that Mount Zion and Jerusalem stand as the centre of the divine 
kingdom. So it is again in Joel ii after the cataclysm of verses 
30, 31 (see verse 32 and iii 1 and 16-21). So in Daniel vii 13 
the sovereignty of the " one like unto a son of man who came 
with the clouds of heaven " and was given universal dominion by 
the " Ancient of Days " which is interpreted immediately as the 
rule of the saints of the Most High, that is of faithful Israel 
is still, like the previous sovereignties of the " great beasts," that 
is the godless powers which it supplants, a sovereignty on this 
earth (see verses 21-7). 

And if the matter is frankly considered we must admit that the 
expectation of the New Testament is still that of a return of Christ 
to earth, a heavenly kingdom to come on earth though it be a 
new heaven and a new earth a new Jerusalem which is to come 
down from heaven as God's final dwelling-place among men (see, 
e.g., Acts iii 20-21 ; 1 Thess. iv 16 ; Rom. viii 20-22). In 2 Peter 
iii the day of judgment by fire is conceived of on the analogy of 
the earlier judgment by water : both judgments are represented 
as destroying an old world and bringing a new one into existence 
which is still only the old one purged and renewed. So also in the 

1 Charles, Between the Old and New Testaments, pp. 66-7. 


been said about this already. Where this is so, 
the Messianic Kingdom, in the old Jewish sense, 
becomes very difficult to adjust to this " other world." 
It is either ignored altogether or becomes a rather 
meaningless temporary prelude to the Last Day. 

The influence of these later Apocalypses has of 
recent years been much exaggerated. We have 
already had occasion to argue that all the literature 
of the New Testament tends to show that in 
our Lord's day the hope of the Messiah and His 
Kingdom was on the lines of the old prophetic hope 
of the King of David's line, who should restore the 
kingdom to Israel, whether this hope was more 
spiritually conceived, as it is represented in the open- 
ing chapters of St. Luke's Gospel, or was entertained 
on nationalist and militarist lines as by the mass 
of the people. When John the Baptist preached 
the Kingdom and the Christ as at hand, he sought 
to spiritualize the people's conception of what was 
coming, as being something so holy and awful as 
that only a new Israel, changed and purified in 
heart, could meet it; but this was only to renew 
the warnings of the old prophets. There is nothing 
in John the Baptist's teaching to suggest the later 
Apocalypses. 1 

What we have now to discover is the sense in 
which Christ both accepted and also transformed 
the old Messianic teaching. 

To go back, then, to the headings under which 
we summarized the Jewish hope, and to deal very 
briefly with the earlier ones, (1) it must be granted 
that our Lord, while accepting the limitation of 
His own mission on earth to His own people, pro- 
claimed a Gospel of the Kingdom which, having its 
roots in the Jewish religion (for " salvation is 
of the Jews " 2 ), is now to become world-wide. 

1 Matt, iii 10-12 suggests no more than Mai. iii 2, 3, iv 1. 

2 John iv. 22. But the idea underlies all the Gospels. 


The sayings " The gospel must first be preached 
unto all nations," " Wherever the gospel shall 
be preached throughout the whole world," 1 the 
authenticity of which cannot reasonably be doubted, 
are enough to show this. And at the beginning 
of His mission, in the account of the Temptations, 
it is evident that the last temptation 2 would have 
no meaning except as addressed to one who in some 
sense was contemplating world- wide dominion. 

(2) It does not seem to have been disputed that 
our Lord could rightly claim to be of the family of 
David, as being the reputed son of Joseph, and He 
certainly acknowledged Himself to be the Christ ; 
but it is plain that, in taking the title of " the Son 
of Man " and identifying it with the Suffering Servant 
of Jehovah, and criticizing for its inadequacy the 
current notion of the Christ as the son of David, He 
was turning His back in the most marked way on 
the Messianic hope, both as it was held in nationalist 
circles and as held among the Pharisees. He accepted, 
but He transformed in meaning, the Messiah's 
kingdom, so as to make it, in the most disconcerting 
sense, a kingdom not of this world. 

(3) He solemnly, at the Last Supper at least, 
proclaimed the New Covenant as established in 
His blood. 3 

(4) As He declared Himself anointed and possessed 
by the Spirit, 4 so He led his disciples to expect His 
effusion upon them, at some definite moment after 
His departure, and the coming of the Spirit on the 
Day of Pentecost was at once identified as in some 
sense the coming of the Day of the Lord. 5 

1 Mark xiii 10, xiv 9. Matt, iv 8. 8 See above, p. 101. 

4 See Luke iv 1, 18, 21. There is very little teaching about the 
Holy Spirit ascribed to our Lord in the Synoptists. But St. Luke 
is explicit in xxiv 49 and Acts i 5, 8. And it is, I think, impossible 
to doubt, in view of the belief of the first disciples, that teaching 
like that of John xiv to xvi must have been given by Him. 

6 Acts ii 17-18. 


(5) Our Lord is represented in all the Gospels as 
constantly foretelling not His death only but also 
His resurrection : and the resurrection of the dead 
was, as we have seen, to be one of the signs that the 
Kingdom was come. 1 

Here then let us pause a moment. If it be agreed, 
as I think it should be, that our Lord, while He 
accepted the Messianic expectation, profoundly 
spiritualized it, declaring the " Kingdom of God " 
to be a kingdom of righteous men, such as must 
have its roots in the wills and hearts of men, and needs 
to be spiritually discerned, and is in actual process 
of establishment 2 ; and if further He took three 
recognized notes of the Kingdom, the New Covenant 
of God with His people, and the Resurrection of the 
Dead, and the effusion of the Spirit, and led His 
disciples to expect the realization of these notes 
in the immediate future that is in His own death 
and the immediately following events if this be 
so, then there was certainly a sense in which He 
viewed the Kingdom as coming immediately. Thus 
when we find Him saying " Verily I say unto you, 
There be some here of them that stand by, which 
shall in no wise taste of death till they see the King- 
dom of God come with power," 3 and again, before 
His Jewish judges, " Henceforth (not ' hereafter ' as 
in our old Bible, but ' henceforth ') ye shall see the 

1 St. Paul, in Horn, i 4, speaks of Christ's resurrection as " the 
resurrection of dead men " i.e. it was the first-fruits and assurance 
of the general resurrection. There are several indications in the 
N.T. of this point of view. 

* See Mark vii 15 ff., Luke xvii 20, 21, John iii 3. 

8 Mark ix 1, Luke ix 27, where the words "come with power " 
are omitted. In Matt, xvi 28 it stands " till they see the Son of 
Man coming in his kingdom." There was a tendency in St. Matthew 
to put all these prophecies in the form most suggestive of a visible 
coming of the glorified Christ. But where the reports differ in 
detail, one thing is quite certain we cannot be sure of the very 
words of Christ on the particular occasion. 


Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and 
coming on the clouds of heaven " 1 (as in the vision 
of Daniel), we shall be disposed to find the fulfilment 
of these prophecies in the early chapters of the Acts. 
There we are given a picture of the little community 
of disciples absorbed in the sense of their Lord as 
already exalted by God's right hand and to God's 
right hand, and as acting upon them and through 
them with power from heaven, though there was a 
further coming to be expected. And so impressed 
were " the brethren " with the divine power working 
through the apostles that they regarded them, 
even in their own community, as a class apart. 
" Of the rest durst no man join himself to them : 
howbeit the (Jewish) people magnified them." 
The disciples would have felt that they already saw 
the Twelve, according to Christ's promise, " sitting 
on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." 

1 Here Mark gives only " Ye shall see " (xiv 62). But both 
Matt, xxvi 64 and Luke xxii 69 give us the " henceforth " (air' &pri 
or ark rov vvv). In St. Luke the words are " From henceforth 
shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power 
of God." But whatever the exact words, our Lord is recalling 
the vision hi Daniel vii of one " like unto a Son of man coming 
with the clouds of heaven." 

I do not think there is any need to suppose our Lord in these 
places to be citing the Book of Enoch. Daniel vii 13 satisfies all 
the requirements of the quotations. There is an excellent paper of 
the late Dr. Moorhouse, Bishop of Manchester, entitled Did Our Lord 
Jesus Christ share the Popular Opinions of the Jews on Eschatoloyy ? 
(which he circulated but, as far as I know, did not publish), in 
which he answers his question in the negative, or in the sense that 
He " transmuted " the popular Apocalyptic. He says, and, I 
think, in the main, truly : " There is good reason to believe that 
our Lord invariably took his apocalyptic imagery, not from the 
later apocryphal writings, but from the books of the canonical 
prophecies." But I have argued above that our Lord's language 
assumes that the figure in Daniel had been already recognized as 
an individual person such as can be identified with the Messiah, 
and this identification probably came from Enoch. 

8 Acts v 12. See Rackham in loc. 

* See Luke xxii 30. 


Already the community of believers in Jesus as the 
Christ was the real Israel, and the Apostles were its 
princes, and Christ was not only reigning in glory 
in heaven but was so manifested on earth in judg- 
ments and wonderful works. 

(6) But we have still to consider the two last 
headings (6 and 7) of the Messianic expectations, and 
first that of judgment on the hostile, godless powers. 
Our Lord, then, certainly, like the old prophets, pro- 
nounces a doom on a* hostile power, but in this case 
the hostile power is the chosen people itself, who in 
their rejection of the Christ have shown themselves 
the enemies of God. 

This is plainly the meaning of the parable of the 
vineyard l which appears in all three Synoptic 
Gospels. The sin of Israel has been consummated 
in the rejection of the Son of God, and God will 
come in judgment to destroy these unfaithful agents 
(I suppose the Jewish rulers in particular), and give 
His spiritual possession in charge to othersdoubt- 
less the " little flock " to whom Jesus said " It is 
your Father's good pleasure to give you the king- 
dom." 2 The same doom is recorded to have been 
pronounced with passionate anguish at the end of 
the woes upon the scribes and Pharisees in 
St. Matthew. " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . 
Behold your house is left unto you desolate," 3 and, 
in St. Luke, with bitter tears when Jesus beheld 
the city and wept over it. 4 St. Paul, we notice, 
entertained no doubt that the doom on Jerusalem 
was irreversible " wrath is come upon them to 
the uttermost." 5 

But, of course, the most detailed judgment on 
Jerusalem is in what is called our Lord's apocalyptic 

1 Mark xii 9. * Luke xii 32. 

8 Matt, xxiii 37-8. It is possible that verso 39 was pronounced 
before the entry into Jerusalem. 

Luke xix 41 ff. 6 1 Thesa. ii 15-16. 


discourse given in St. Mark xiii, 1 and the parallel 
passage in the other Gospels. There we read how 
our Lord had His attention called by one of His 
disciples to the magnificence of the temple buildings, 
and makes it the opportunity for denouncing upon 
them speedy and complete ruin. Then when the 
inner circle of disciples asks Him when this is to 
happen and what sign is to presage the disaster, 2 
our Lord describes a time of spiritual confusion, 
political unrest, and physical calamity, which is 
to be expected before the judgment falls. 3 And 
He warns the apostles that they are to find not 
only the Jewish rulers but the world powers arrayed 
against them in their task of preaching the Gospel 
unto all the nations, and that they are to be objects 
of universal hatred, and to be subjected to the 
severest strain. Then, when they see an awful 
profanation of the Holy Place occurring, such as 
is obscurely described in the Book of Daniel, the 
disciples who are in Judaea are to escape from the 
doomed city at once, without a moment's delay, 
and flee to the mountains. A scene of unparalleled 
horror is to be expected from which they shall barely 
escape, and the physical horrors shall be made more 

1 The critics have largely accepted the view that a considerable 
part of the discourse (verses 7-8, 12, 14, 17-22, 24-7, 30) was 
not pronounced by our Lord but was a " little apocalypse " due 
to some prophet near the time of the destruction of Jerusalem 
about A.D. 66 and is the " oracle " which Eusebius (H.E. iii 5, 
apparently on the authority of Hegesippus) declares to have warned 
the Christiana of Jerusalem to escape and remove to Pella, a city 
of Peraea. I do not see sufficient reasons for adopting this view. 
The " oracle " referred to by Eusebius may have been simply a 
warning that now was the moment to act on the Lord's admonition, 
given to a few disciples privately nearly forty years before, and 
carefully treasured in writing by the Jerusalem Church as its secret. 
This would account for St. Mark here using a written document,, 
as he seems to do (see verse 14) 

8 In Matthew the question is made to concern both the destruction 
and (as a separate event) the end of the world. St. Matthew tends 
generally to heighten the apocalyptic colouring of our Lord's dis- 
courses. We cannot doubt that St. Mark rightly records their? 
question. Appended note, p. 160. 



trying by the seductions of false Christs and false 
prophets (verses 5-23). There are to follow " in 
those days, after that tribulation," portents in the 
heavens described in the words of Isaiah darkened 
sun and moon, falling stars, shaken heavens, and also 
what has no counterpart in Isaiah- the coming 
of the Son of Man in power and glory, accompanied 
with angels whom He will send to gather together 
His scattered people from all quarters of the world 
(verses 24-7). Then we are taken back to the time 
of preparation, and the disciples are warned of the 
certainty of the doom, and that this generation 
shall see it accomplished (verses 30-31). Then, in 
what appears to be sudden contrast, we hear of a 
certain day and hour (" that day " and " that hour ") 
which is veiled in complete uncertainty, of which 
even the Son has no knowledge ; and the discourse 
as it stands ends with a warning to them, couched 
in a parable, that, though their Lord after 
His departure should seem to delay His return, 
they are always to watch, for it will be sudden, 
when it comes, and they know not when to expect 
it (32-7). 

The main purpose of this discourse apart from 
its warnings of the spiritual trials which our Lord's 
apostles are to expect is to declare explicitly and 
with imaginative * detail, such as we are familiar 
with in the " judgments " of the old prophets, the 
certain doom upon Jerusalem to be accomplished 
, before " this generation had passed away." This 
was a definite prophecy, and it was fulfilled in A.D. 70, 
; amidst unimaginable horrors. 

(7) But this doom upon Jerusalem is thrown, after 
the manner of the ancient prophets, and in the 

1 The details appear to be details of the picture, as presented 
to their imagination, rather than detailed prophecy of circum- 
stances. Thus the Christians of Jerusalem did not "flee to the 
mountains," but over the Jordan and just across it to Pella, opposite 
southern Galilee. 


words of Isaiah, upon a background of cosmic por- 
tents darkened sun and moon, falling stars, shaken 
heavens, heralding the coming of the Son of Man as 
described in the vision of Daniel, but now as coming 
to earth to fulfil what had always been associated 
in prophecy with the Messianic kingdom that is, 
the gathering of the true Israelites from all the 
quarters of the globe. 1 And there are other passages 
in which our Lord is recorded to have spoken of the 
coming of the Christ in glory to wind up the present 
world history in scathing judgment and abundant 
blessing, in phrases which are based upon Daniel's 
vision but assume that the figure of " one like to 
a son of man " has been already identified with the 
Christ, 2 and the final Day of Judgment a familiar 
prospect. The distinctive scenery of the day of 
judgment is more prominent in St. Matthew's 
accounts of our Lord's discourses than in those of 
the other Evangelists. But it is not, I think, possible 
to doubt that our Lord did not merely describe the 
destruction of Jerusalem in terms of celestial portents, 
after the manner of Isaiah, but did throw this 
judgment upon the background of the great and 
universal Day of Judgment with the glorified Christ 
for judge, thus adopting the latter apocalyptic 

In what sense, we ask ? Well, it seems to me 
that any believer in the God of the prophets and 
of our Lord must believe with them in a Day of 
God, as bringing the present age, or human history, 
to its climax. God, for all His long tolerance of 
human wilfulness and arrogance, must one day 
come into His own in His whole creation, and every- 
thing must be seen in its true light as what it is 

1 Dent, xxx 3, Jer. xxiii 3, xxxii 37, Ezek. xxxiv 13, etc. 

3 Such passages are Matt, xiii 40-41, the conclusion of the 
parable of the Tares, Matt, xvi 27, Mark viii 38, Luke ix 26, 
Matt, xxv 31 ff., Luke xii 40 and 46, xix 15, John v 28. The first 
Church was plainly full of this xpectation. 


really worth. That is the " day of judgment " in 
its essence. And no believer in Christ can doubt 
that this final disclosure of things as they really 
are will be the manifested victory of Christ. His 
judgment on men and things will be shown to be 
the final judgment and the judgment of God. And 
this Day, like all the preparatory and partial " days 
of judgment," will speak the divine doom on all 
corrupt civilizations and godless and inhuman forms 
of power and institutions of cruelty and lust, and 
on all rebels against God and right, only now 
not partially and locally, but universally, in the 
whole created world. We cannot, it seems to me, 
hold any conception of progress which is con- 
sistent with the facts of experience, without recog- 
nizing that the divine purpose of progress works 
through cataclysms as well as gradually, and that the 
final coming of the Kingdom (if such an expectation 
is entertained) must involve a cataclysm also on 
the vastest scale. It seems to me quite certain 
that our Lord enforces this doctrine, and that 
He clothed this moral certainty in the tremendous 
imagery of the rending clouds, and the descending 
form, and the throne and the angels, and the 
judgment spoken on every soul. Certainly our 
Lord was ready enough to use imagery, and knew 
well enough how to distinguish symbolism from 
literal language. I cannot doubt that His picture 
of the Last Day is the clothing of an awful reality 
in symbolic forms. Only let us agree that our 
Lord, in this solemn imagery, did affirm that human 
history would reach its climax in what would be 
at once the coming of the Kingdom in full glory 
and the final Day of Judgment, and threw upon 
this background the immediate judgment on 

But now we come back to the question mentioned 
at starting this enquiry did our Lord declare that 


the Last Day would follow immediately on the Fall 
of Jerusalem, and did He in this respect show Him- 
self to be under the influence of a current apocalyptic 
expectation, and in fact mistaken ? 

There was certainly, I think, mistake somewhere. 
St. Matthew with his " immediately " (xxiv 29) must 
be interpreted as meaning that the great day would 
follow the destruction of Jerusalem as a separate 
event without any considerable interval. And, in 
the sense intended, this certainly did not occur. 
But St. Mark's words are vaguer, "in those days, 
after that tribulation " (xiii 24), and St. Luke 
suggests an interval of indefinite length : " Jerusalem 
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times 
of the Gentiles be fulfilled " (xxi 24). Plainly we 
cannot rely upon having the precise words of Christ, 
and we seem to detect contrary tendencies in St. 
Matthew and St. Luke in St. Matthew to accentuate 
everything apocalyptic in our Lord's words, and in 
St. Luke to minimize. If we are to form a sound 
judgment we must look at the general tenour of our 
Lord's teaching as a whole, and not lay stress upon 
single phrases in one Gospel. 

I would say then that the extreme apocalyptic 
estimate of Christ formed (for example) by Schweitzer 
must certainly be rejected. He represents the 
Christ of current Judaism as simply the Heavenly 
Figure of Daniel and Enoch. He would have us be- 
lieve that there was no question of our Lord while 
on earth being the Christ already. It was simply 
that He believed Himself, and was believed by 
others, to be destined to be the Christ from heaven. 
But that estimate alike of current Jewish belief 
and of the special belief concerning Jesus is, as has 
already been shown, quite contrary to the evidence. 
Holding this mistaken or very one-sided idea of 
the Messianic expectation, Schweitzer maintains 
that our Lord, when He first sent out the Twelve 


expected to come as Christ in the clouds of heaven 
(without dying) before their brief mission was ended, 1 
and that He had no idea of promoting any Kingdom 
of God in the world or establishing (what is the 
same thing) any new way or order of life among 
men. All His rapt attention was on the Last Day 
and the other world, as to come within the next 
few weeks. When He was disappointed about this, 
His disappointment, and the warning of the execution 
of John the Baptist, taught Him to think that He 
should offer Himself for death and that His sacri- 
ficial death would certainly move God to bring the 
kingdom from heaven at once. 

All this picture of our Lord is surely violently 
one-sided and distorted. Our Lord assuredly pro- 
claimed a kingdom of God, characterized by a new 
vision of God and a new conception of righteousness, 
which in one sense was already in being a kingdom 
of God established in the hearts of men already 
within men or among them. 2 Again, He certainly 
spoke of the growth of the kingdom under the figure 
of the growth of a plant and the diffusion of leaven ; 
and again, as a mixed society on earth, which only 

1 This is founded on Matt, x 23: "But when they persecute 
you in the city, flee unto the next : for verily I say unto you, Ye 
shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man 
be come." But the whole of this section in St. Matthew, verses 
16-23, appears to be antedated. It belongs properly to the prepara- 
tion by Christ of the apostles for their experiences after He was 
gone from them. (See Mark xiii 9-13, and Luke xxi 12-19.) The 
particular words quoted, which do not appear in St. Mark or St. 
Luke, probably in their original context meant " Never stay any- 
where to press the Gospel on those who do not want it. There 
will always be unevangelized places to be given their chance before 
tho Gospel is preached in the whole world and the end comes." 
I think we must conclude that St. Matthew, in adapting the words 
to a much earlier situation a preliminary mission of the Twelve 
exclusively to Jews has given them a misleading appearance. 
At any rate, whatever the words may be held to mean, it is an 
unreasonable thing to accentuate a solitary and unsupported saying 
so as to give to Jesus an appearance of being such a fanatic as is 
quite out of character with the general tone of His teaching. 

1 Luke xvii 20 ; cf. Matt, xi 12, xiii 44-6. 


at the final day could be completely purified. 1 He 
certainly prepared His " little flock " to become the 
New Israel, and therefore (in some sense) the kingdom 
of God on earth. 2 Again, He certainly spoke of a 
preaching of the Gospel of the kingdom throughout 
the whole world, 3 and He must have known, He who 
was supremely sane, that this must be an affair of 
a long time. Moreover, He speaks again and again 
of the strain upon courage and faith involved in 
waiting while God seems to de nothing this under 
the figure of the man of property wh* left the ad- 
ministration of his property to others and went 
away "for a long time," and in other similar 
parables 4 ; and He asked the startling question : 
44 When the Son of man cometh, shall he find the faith 
on the earth ? " 5 or will the strain have been too 
much for it ? It is plain that St. Luke is aware of a 
tendency to misrepresent our Lord (as he thinks) as 
having prophesied an immediate end, and desires to 
correct it. 6 

Also we cannot ignore the teaching of the Fourth 
Gospel. The final coming is there, and in the First 
Epistle of St. John, still the object of expectation. 7 
But the writer also plainly thinks it his business to 
remind the Church that the apocalyptic expecta- 
tion was not the whole of our Lord's teaching, nor 
(in his eyes) its most important element. Christ 
also prepared for the establishment of His kingdom 
here and now in the world, by the sending of His 
Spirit, which was also His own return by the Spirit. 

Thus, on the whole, we seem to me to have every 

1 Mark iv 30, Matt, xiii 33, 47-50, 52. 

8 That is to say, He refoimded the Church. But this is reserved 
for argument in the next volume. 3 Mark xiii 10, xiv 9. 

4 Matt, xxv 19 ; cf. Luke xix 12, " into a far country." 

5 Luke xviii 8. 

6 Luke xix 12. "Because they supposed that the Kingdom of 
Cod was immediately to appear." 

7 John v 28-9, vi 39, 40, 54 (" the last day "), xi 24, xii 48, xxi 
22-3 ; 1 John ii 28, iii 2, 2 John 7. 


reason to believe that our Lord's teaching about 
the coming of the kingdom was much more com- 
plex and many-sided than the apocalyptic school 
acknowledges. He accepted, but He transmuted, 
the apocalyptic hope. He prophesied an immediate 
coming by the Spirit. He prophesied a speedy 
coming in judgment on Jerusalem. He also threw 
this "doom" upon the background of a final coming 
or Day of Judgment. No doubt the first disciples 
expected this final day immediately, and the ex- 
pectation has coloured the report of our Lord's 
words in St. Matthew and perhaps somewhat in 
St. Mark also. But it is in both these Gospels that 
we read the indisputably authentic words of Christ : 
" Of that day and that hour knoweth no one, not 
the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but 
the Father." This certainly means that our Lord 
had not at least in His mortal state a map of 
the future spread before Him. We should take 
these words in connection with those recorded of 
our Lord by St. Luke, before His ascension, in 
answer to a question of the disciples, which shows 
them still clinging to the old Jewish hope in its 
fallacious form : " Dost thou at this time restore 
the kingdom to Israel ?" " He said unto them, 
It is not for you to know times or seasons which 
the Father hath set within his own authority." l 
These last two sayings mean, I think, unmistakably 
that our Lord gave no teaching at all upon the time 
of the end. He left it wholly vague and indefinite. 
Thus, we must, on reviewing the whole evidence, 
give a negative answer to the question whether our 
Lord was mistaken about the time of the end. I 
think we have seen cogent reasons for saying that 
our Lord refused to give any teaching on the subject, 
and declared it not to be within the scope of His 
knowledge, as He then was. There was mistake 

1 Acts i 6, 7. 


but it was on the part of the disciples, and not of our 
Lord ; and we have, I think, to admit that it has 
somewhat discoloured some expressions, especially in 
the first of the Synoptic Gospels, but not sufficiently 
to prevent our correcting the discolouring out of 
the total impression left us. 

I think, also, that this answer to the question is 
the one suggested by the attitude of the disciples, 
especially St. Paul, in the matter. Plainly he at 
first shared the expectation of the end within his 
own lifetime, 1 and plainly also he grew out of it 2 
not out of the expectation, but out of its immediacy 
simply by the growth of his experience and re- 
flection, and without any shock. It would appear 
as if the expectation was to him not an " article 
of faith " and not something for which he had a 
word of Christ. Otherwise there would have been 
the sense of shock. And St. Paul's attitude is 
reflected in that of the whole Church. Jerusalem 
fell by wholly natural means, but according to 
the prophecy of Jesus : yet " the end " did not 
come. Then we find the seer of the Apocalypse 
making another prophecy. The hostile power is 
now not the apostate Israel but the Roman Empire 
turned persecutor ; and the seer pronounces upon 
it the doom of God, and again throws that doom 
upon the background of the End. The Church, we 
gather, like St. Paul, had experienced no shock in 
seeing that the Day of God did not " immediately " 
follow, as they had expected, the doom on Jerusalem. 
They prepared to see another doom on another 
hostile power, persecuting Rome, and again to throw 
it upon the background of the final and universal 

This represents the attitude which our Lord would 
have His disciples take. Because they believe in 
God, they must take it for granted that in no 

1 1 Thess. iv 14, 1 Cor. xv 51. * Phil, i 23, 2 Tim. iv 6. 


department can evil be ifinally victorious. The end 
is certain and is to be eagerly expected. God must 
come into His own. That is ' k the day of the Lord," 
or " day of judgment." In the world's history there 
are many days of judgment. Over long periods in- 
deed God seems to do nothing and the world-power 
to have it all its own way. But there are also days 
when the world-power seems to be cracking and 
dissolving, and then it falls. God has bared His 
arm. Sooner or later the judgment of God falls 
" naturally " on every institution which ignores, 
persistently and defiantly, the law of righteousness. 
" Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles 
be gathered together." Thus we have many " last 
days," l or " days of extremity," followed by " days of 
the Lord." But all these days of the Lord, of which 
the Bible record is full, are the prelude of something 
final and universal the Day after which God is 
to be all in all. Of the date of this we know, and 
are to know, nothing, and of its character and manner 
of coming we hear only in apocalyptic imagery and 
symbolism, as a reflection in a mirror, or in a riddle. 
Only we know it is certain to come, and as we belong 
already to the kingdom of God we most passionately 
and eagerly desire to see it fully consummated. 

It is from such a point of view as this that, though 
it is going somewhat out of our way, we can attempt 
a brief answer to the question which is continually 
being raised afresh, whether Christianity is a religion 
of this world or an other-worldly religion whether 
Christians are to labour for the gradual upbuilding 
of the city of God on earth by the transformation 
both of individual characters and human institu- 

1 I think Westcott (on 1 John ii 18), and Hort (on 1 Peter i 5), 
and Parry (on 2 Tim. iii 1) are right in distinguishing " the last 
day" from 4< laet days "and "a last hour." "There is clearly a 
distinction to be drawn, according as the article is used or not." 


tions. or whether they are to look forward to the 
destruction of this wicked world and all that belongs 
to it, and the perfecting of man's hopes in a quite 
different world called heaven ? 

The problem is generally stated in somewhat mis- 
leading terms as an alternative but there can be 
no question that for a very long period of time 
popular religion has contented itself in the main 
with the latter expectation : and that the apathy 
of religious people in the face of social injustice 
all that has given point to the charge that 
"religion has been the opium of the poor" has 
been due in great measure to the hold that this 
idea has had on the religious imagination. But I 
think that any frank consideration of the New 
Testament will lead us to the conclusion that the 
New Testament, as well as the Old, is on the other 
side. 1 There the aim is that the kingdom of God 
should come " on earth as it is in heaven." 2 The 
end is always pictured as the Return of Christ in 
glory and triumph from heaven to earth with the 
angels and saints all the treasures of heaven to be 
fused with a purged and renewed earth : it is the 
redemption of " the whole creation " : it is the 
New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven 
to be God's dwelling-place upon the " new earth " 
and under the " new heaven " : it is " the kingdom 
of the world " made "the kingdom of the Lord and 
of his Christ." We will not concern ourselves with 

1 See above, p. 141 n. 1, with references. I find in Hastings' Diet, 
f tfie Bible, art. " Heaven " : "In the N.T. the heaven which is 
to be our final home and the goal of our hope is a heaven that is 
above this world and beyond time, not only superterrestrial, but 
supramundane, the transcendent heaven which is brought to light 
in the Gospel " (p. 323). This seems to me a quite remarkably 
perverted statement. 

2 It would be an immense gain if Christians in general could be 
brought to realize that in the Lord's Prayer the words "in earth as it 
is hi heaven " refer to all three previous clauses, and if the Lord's 
Prayer were printed and recited so as to make this evident. 


the question of the meaning to be attached to the 
preliminary millennium of the Apocalypse. But there 
can be no question, I think, that the ultimate king- 
dom is in the New Testament, on the whole, figured 
not only as including this world, purged by scathing 
judgment, but in some sense as centring upon it. 
Let us allow as fully as possible that all the language 
about the last things is highly figurative : never- 
theless it is intended to impress and affect our 
imagination, and it makes the greatest possible dif- 
ference if our imagination becomes rightly coloured 
if what we come to anticipate with assurance is 
not our being carried away to some other remote 
world, but the victory of God in the creation and 
world that we know. 

And not only is this the truth about the end of 
the world, but it is also true that the Church 
which is the old Israel renewed and refounded by 
Christ is, or is the representative of, the kingdom 
of God on earth here and now, albeit not yet per- 
fected, 1 the kingdom which is "righteousness, peace, 
and joy in the Holy Spirit." So the ethics of the New 
Testament are predominantly social ethics the ethics 
of brotherhood ; its discipline is primarily moral 
discipline. The aim of the Church is to show here 
and now the true human fellowship realized in Christ. 
It is bound to make war, in the name of Christ, on 
all injustice as much as on all impurity. It must 
take all human life for its province. It must de- 
velop its philosophy, its art, its principles of social 
economy. It exists in the world, but not of the 
world, and that means that it must vigorously and 
combatively maintain the true principles of human 
brotherhood and human life against " the lusts of the 
flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life " 
that is, against the social aims and practices of 
the selfish, avaricious, and lustful world. This seems 

1 " Non adhuc regnat hoc regnum," St. Augustine says. 


to me indisputable. The only question which remains 
to answer is whether the idea of a gradually and 
progressively realized kingdom of God in this world 

a Church gradually appropriating the world, and 
consequently a world progressing towards perfection 

is to oust the apocalyptic idea of a Christ manifested 
in cataclysm and judgment at the end whether the 
two conceptions are mutually exclusive. Many of 
our Christian socialists appear to think so, and among 
the radical reconstructors of the Gospel men as unlike 
one another as Harnack and Schweitzer take it for 
granted that the apocalyptic hope is gone beyond 
recall and for good. 

But I think we must not accept as mutually 
exclusive alternatives the idea of a progressive 
realization of the kingdom here and now and the 
apocalyptic hope. Both seem to me to find their 
place in the teaching and mind of Christ ; and both 
seem to me to be equally warranted by experience 
and needed for the equipment of human souls all 
down the generations. We are to labour for the 
establishment of the kingdom of God in the name of 
Christ and in the power of His Spirit here and now. 
But neither Christ nor experience warrants us in 
believing that we are to see the extinction of the 
power of evil within the present world order. Pro- 
gress, as we recognize to-day, is an exceedingly 
fitful and chequered process. There is no security 
against the collapse of civilizations and Churches. 
The powers of evil do not seem to be worn out or to 
be weakened only to take new shapes. Now, as 
of old, there appears to be the most fearful waste 
of the best human efforts. It seems to me that 
Jesus Christ would prepare us for all this by the 
apocalyptic, other-worldly hope. He would have us 
believe that no good effort for the cause of truth 
and righteousness will ever really be lost. Their 
" works follow with " the suffering servants who 


seem to die defeated, but " in the Lord." With 
them (or in them) the fruits of what they have thought 
and done and suffered are gathered into the treasury 
of God in the heavenly world unseen, and one day 
we shall see them with our eyes. We shall see the 
fruit of all true human effort integrated in the perfect 
fellowship, when Christ comes again when the City 
of God descends. But we are not led to expect the 
City of God as the culmination of a gradually pro- 
gressive movement to perfection. The present world 
order will always present the aspect of a more or less 
desperate struggle. It is on the other side of Arma- 
geddon that the City of God will appear. And that 
final battle will be won, as it seems, by the pure act 
of God, and the New Jerusalem will appear from 
heaven, so that we cannot imagine that we have 
fashioned it. 

This is metaphorical teaching or symbolism, no 
doubt : but only in metaphor or symbol can we 
envisage the truth about the future. And the 
apocalyptic metaphors, which possess the hearts of 
men in days of seeming moral disaster, correspond, 
we may be persuaded, with spiritual realities. 

NOTE TO P. 147. 

An Illustration from Tacitus 

It is instructive to read, in connection with Mark xiii 
7-13, Tacitus' introduction to his Histories, in which 
he is to describe the events of A.D. 68-70, and amongst 
them the Jewish War and the capture of Jerusalem, 
from the point of view of the Roman Empire : " The 
story I now commence is rich in vicissitudes, grim with 
warfare, torn by civil strife, a tale of horror even during 
times of peace. It tells of four emperors slain by the 
sword, three several civil wars, an even larger number of 
foreign wars, and some that were both at once. . . . Now, 
too, Italy was smitten with new disasters, or disasters 
which it had not witnessed for a long period of years. 


Towns along the rich coast of Campania were submerged 
or buried. The city was devastated by fires, ancient 
temples were destroyed, and the Capitol itself was fired 
by Roman hands. Sacred rites were profaned, and 
there were adulteries in high places. The sea swarmed 
with exiles, and the cliffs were red with blood. Worse 
horrors reigned in the city. . . . Slaves were bribed 
against their masters, freedmen against their patrons, 
and if a man had no enemies he was ruined by his 
friends. . . ." Then, after describing some better 
features of the life of the time, he continues : " Besides 
these manifold disasters to mankind there were portents 
in the sky and on the earth, and the warnings of thunder- 
bolts, a premonition of good and of evil, some doubtful, 
some obvious. Indeed, never has it been proved by 
such terrible disasters to Rome or such clear evidence 
that the Gods were concerned not with our safety but 
with vengeance on our sins." 



THUS far we have been pursuing a purely historical 
method. Thus, after duly taking into account the dis- 
tinctively Jewish background of beliefs and expecta- 
tions in which the faith in Jesus had its origin (cap. i), 
we occupied ourselves in tracing the growth of the 
idea of His person as it appears in the New Testament. 
We began from the first undefined belief of the 
Twelve, which the scandal of the Cross temporarily 
overthrew (cap. ii) but which revived under the ex- 
perience of the Resurrection and the coming of the 
Spirit and took shape in the enthusiastic conviction 
of the original Church in Jerusalem that Jesus was 
truly the glorified Christ, the Lord of all, the object 
of worship, appointed to be the final judge of quick 
and dead. 

This passionate faith, which might have seemed 
to be moving in the direction of the deification of 
the man Jesus, was interpreted to the Church itself 
by Saul of Tarsus the scourge of the Church who 
was converted to become its glory in the light of 
the title which In momentous utterances Jesus had 
used to describe Himself the title of the Son of God. 
Not the deification of a man, but the Incarnation of 
the pre-existing Son, St. Paul declared to be the 
interpretation of His person. And though no teacher 
of the Church before St. Paul can be shown to have 
given it expression, yet it appears that the whole 



apostolic group and all the young churches welcomed 
the interpretation as the truth, quite without con- 
troversy. They must have felt that St. Paul was 
only giving clear utterance to what the language 
of Jesus implied about Himself, and what alone 
could explain or justify the unreserved faith they 
reposed in Him. The same doctrine of Christ's 
person is expressed from a rather different point of 
view by the Alexandrian author of the Epistle to 
the Hebrews (cap. iii). 

We saw that the Fourth Gospel gives this doctrine of 
incarnation its fullest and most deliberate expression, 
and makes the most decided claim to find in the 
language of Jesus Himself its indisputable justifica- 
tion ; and it was pointed out how strong the grounds 
are for believing that the Fourth Gospel presents 
us with a real historical tradition supplementary to 
the earlier Gospels. Finally we examined the language 
of the seer of the Apocalypse, and of James, and of 
Jude, and of Peter, and, though they do not plainly 
state any theory of Christ's person, we found it almost 
impossible to believe that they could have been 
satisfied with anything short of the Incarnation 
doctrine, in view of the indications of their faith 
which they give us. 

There is, we saw, no rival adoptionist theory no 
doctrine that is of a man adopted into the Godhead 
(apotheosis) to be found in the New Testament, 
whether previously to St. Paul's activity or after his 
appearance on the scene. What had happened was 
that the years immediately succeeding the death and 
resurrection of Jesus saw the Church concentrated 
upon the worship of the glorified Christ and Lord, and 
treating Him as having " the values of God " for them, 
without apparently finding it necessary to form or 
proclaim any theory of His person. When St. Paul 
was given to the Church to do this service for them, 
they appear to have accepted his interpretation 


unanimously. It must have been already at work, 
we feel, under the surface in the apostolic company, 
though it does not find expression in the Acts. 
Later, in Jewish Ebionism and in Paul of Samosata's 
Adoptionism, we are given positive theories rivals 
of the Incarnation doctrine as that Jesus was an 
inspired man and no more, or a man assumed into 
the Godhead on account of his excellence but these 
were certainly deteriorations from the level of the 
whole New Testament, even from the unformulated 
belief of the first Jerusalem Church. Indeed it is 
impossible to read the Epistle to the Hebrews with- 
out feeling that the writer's mind is full of the fear 
that any clinging to antiquated Jewish rites and 
ceremonies, on the part of those who have once con- 
fessed Jesus, will involve a lapse, not only morally 
but intellectually, from their first faith. And this 
is what actually occurred, if not to the group overseas 
to whom the Epistle to the Hebrews was apparently 
addressed, yet certainly in Palestine and nearer 
home (cap. IT). 

After this we devoted special attention to the 
apocalyptic element in the New Testament the 
expectation of the future coming of the Christ in 
glory and endeavoured to see it in its relation to 
the whole Messianic idea ; and we saw that there are 
no adequate grounds for the often repeated asser- 
tion that Jesus Himself entertained the delusion of 
the immediate coming of the end of the world (cap. v). 

We shall have to pursue the course of the faith 
to its formulation in the creeds of the Church and 
the decisions of the Councils. But we had better 
pause here. The theologians of the later Church 
are unanimous in declaring that they were not 
originating anything, but defending and defining the 
faith of the New Testament the faith of the apostles. 
This, no doubt, may be disputed and must be ex- 
amined. But I think we shall find that they were 


justified in their contention in the sense that where 
we pass off the ground of the New Testament we 
leave behind us, already accomplished, the funda- 
mentally creative work in Christian theology. 

But, whether this be wholly true or no, there is 
at any rate enough truth in it to justify us in pausing 
at this point to ask whether the doctrine of the 
incarnation of the Son of God, as we find it in St. 
Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews and St. John, 
is really the only legitimate way of thinking of and 
accounting for the historical person Jesus of 

At the beginning of our inquiry 1 1 described certain 
rival interpretations of His person which at present 
are largely in occupation of the intellectual field, 
and which are associated especially with the names 
of Harnack, Schweitzer, and Bousset. It is common 
to the maintainers of all these rival interpretations 
that they approach the Gospels with what I think 
we must call a dogmatic prejudice. On general philo- 
sophical and historical grounds they peremptorily 
refuse to admit the credibility of miracles, so far as 
these go beyond healings of the sick effected by 
suggestion, and apparently quite as peremptorily they 
refuse to entertain, as even an hypothesis to be 
fairly considered, the traditional conception of Jesus 
as the incarnation of a divine person. At all costs 
the Christ of history must for them be found non- 
miraculous and (however much inspired by the 
Spirit of God) purely a human person. 

I have laboured (in the volume preceding this) 
to convince my readers that these presuppositions are 
unwarranted that we can approach the Gospels 
open-minded. I also insisted that any treatment of 

1 Sec above, pp. 35 ff. 


the Gospels which refuses the strictly miraculous 
is forced to eliminate so much out of the foundation 
documents as to discredit them deeply as historical 
records. The narrative has to be rewritten from the 
point of view of each new critic, accentuating this 
and leaving out that, as his particular judgment 
dictates. The proof that this is so lies in the extra- 
ordinary differences between the various critical re- 
constructions of the historical Jesus, notably between 
the three to which I specially called attention. My 
answer, therefore, to those " critical " estimates I 
have attempted to give in this way I have urged 
the high claim of our foundation Gospel documents 
and the Acts of the Apostles to take rank as credible 
history. I have begged my readers to approach 
the study of these documents with an open mind. 
Taking them, not as exempt from error, but as good 
history, and seeking to give an impartial attention 
to all the elements of the narrative, I have sought 
;to trace the growth of the belief in Christ's person 
'as it is represented in these narratives and as it 
reaches its coherent expression in the Epistles. The 
picture of the development of a belief which such 
impartial study discloses is to my mind very con- 
vincing. The facts as they are recorded account for 
the developing belief, and the belief interprets the 
facts. It alone can interpret the facts as a whole. 
In proof of this I must go back to Harnack and 

Harnack admirably describes the ethical teaching 
of Christ, but there are three elements in our funda- 
mental records which he perforce refuses to admit 
as historical, not on critical but on a priori grounds : 
the claim of a divine Sonship which, as it stands 
(both in St. Mark and Q), Harnack admits to be 
superhuman ; the tremendous apocalyptic claim, 
which he minimizes towards vanishing-point ; and 
the miracles, especially the real Resurrection. That is 


to say that out of four elements in our foundation 
Gospels, which are all equally and obtrusively present, 
Harnack chooses one and fashions his picture out 
of it alone, with the result that the Jesus of history, 
as he represents Him, seems altogether inadequate to 
account for the results which have flowed forth from 
Him. Jesus, the ethical and spiritual prophet, was 
a fact of history, but it appears that there was much 
there besides. 

I would advise anyone to read Harnack's account 
of the faith in Jesus of the apostolic band imme- 
diately after His death x and, without stopping to 
criticize it in detail, ask himself whether it does not 
require the actual fact of the Resurrection, and what 
followed, to account for it. The picture in the 
Gospels and Acts is lifelike and unmistakable. A 
hesitating, vacillating company who deserted their 
Master in the hour of His seeming failure and death 
are, after a brief interval, transformed into a radiant, 
confident band who can face the world with un- 
flinching courage. The change is accounted for by 
certain facts the fact of the Resurrection, made 
evident by the repeated appearances of the risen 
Lord, and His ascension to the right hand of God 
and His mission of the Spirit. Harnack himself 
dates St. Paul's conversion, herein differing from 
most authorities, as early as a year after our Lord's 
death. He does not question that the record which 
St. Paul gives us of His resurrection on the third 
day and His subsequent appearances 2 was what he 
received from " the primitive community." It was 
a record of a succession of solid and distinct events. 
But in Harnack's estimate these supposed events 
were the projection upon the outward world of their 
own vivid imagination. Their state of mind pro- 
duced the supposed events, not real events their state 
of mind. They felt that Jesus had really, as He said, 
1 Lecture IX of What is Christianity ? 1 Cor. xv. 


died for them. They felt that He must have sur- 
vived death, and that God must vindicate Him. 
Their Messianic beliefs invested Him with supreme 
Lordship. And all this, though in reality their faith 
had failed them under the scandal of the Cross, and 
God had not vindicated Jesus by any outward event, 
and He did not come in glory as they expected. 
Granted the primitive faith, solidly grounded on 
the experiences reqorded in the last chapters of the 
Gospels and the opening chapters of the Acts, the 
Church can start on its course, as we see it, in the 
enthusiasm of conviction. But it was the facts 
which created the conviction. And apart from the 
impact of indisputable facts, the moral transformation 
of the apostles and the triumphant certitude of the 
Acts are quite unaccountable. Also, I cannot believe 
that St. Paul's doctrine of the divine Son incarnate 
would ever have received the unquestioned accept- 
ance which the evidence shows it received, if it had 
not been grounded beyond question on the Lord's 
own witness to Himself. 

It is almost comic to pass from Harnack to 
Schweitzer, for what is all in all to the one is nothing 
to the other. For Schweitzer Jesus is hardly an 
ethical teacher at all. He is an apocalyptic seer 
of what we cannot but call a fanatical type. He is 
that and almost nothing else. He created a flaming 
expectation in the first Jerusalem Church of His 
speedy earning in the clouds of heaven. Again we 
note, as with Harnack, that there is nothing admitted 
to have occurred which accounts for the trans- 
formation of the character of the Twelve from 
utter despondency to confident enthusiasm. But in 
Harnack's account the first Christians have at least 
a task before them. There is an ethical gospel 
a gospel of divine Fatherhood and human brother- 
hood to be preached, and a life to be realized on 
earth by the community of believers. Christianity 


is "the Way." But according to Schweitzer they 
appear to have nothing to do no divine legacy left 
them, except the expectation of the Christ coming 
in the clouds to judge the world, which was not 
realized. The Christ who has been so potent a 
factor in human history, who has given to men so 
new a sense of the worth, here and now, of human per- 
sonality and human life, has, according to Schweitzer, 
hardly anything to do with Jesus as in fact He was. 
He again, like Harnack, only more one-sidedly, has 
fastened upon one element in the record the apoca- 
lyptic and has sought to fashion out of it the 
complete picture, again with the result that the 
supposed Jesus cannot supply any intelligible ex- 
planation of the Church which was called by His 

In Bousset's and Kirsopp Lake's estimate of 
history there is even less in the historical Jesus than 
Harnack or Schweitzer finds there. There is even 
less any adequate historical cause of the great effect. 
On the showing of these very radical critics the 
Catholic Church owes comparatively little to Him 
except His prophetic teaching about God and the 
example of His noble life and self-sacrificing death. 

Now, is it not the most effective argument against 
all these three schools of interpreters to show that 
there is a picture of Jesus of Nazareth, which is 
formed by taking our records seriously as historical 
documents, which takes in what each of these groups 
of interpreters wishes to emphasize, but by taking 
in also what they severally or all together repudiate 
(though without any critical ground for their re- 
pudiation) can combine all the elements in one 
strangely compelling and convincing whole, which 
moreover is obviously adequate as no one of these 
partial or one-sided estimates of the " Jesus of 
History " is- to explain the effects which are summed 
up in the religion of the New Testament ? 



Certainly it is easier to examine the views of the 
critics whom we have been considering than those 
of our English Modernists. The German and 
French scholars at any rate express their views as 
lucidly as possible^ and show us quite clearly what 
they mean and whither they are moving. But 
the greater number of our English Modernists do 
not give us this intellectual satisfaction. 

The Report of their Conference at Cambridge in 
the summer of 1921, on Christ and the Creeds, 1 
seemed to me to be more markedly characterized 
by strong statements of what the speakers do not 
believe than by clear exposition of what they do. 
It was unfortunate also that the question, what is the 
best intellectual expression which we can find for 
the truth about Christ, was crossed and confused 
by a quite different issue what is the intellectual 
obligation involved in the honest recitation of the 
Creeds. These two issues had better be kept quite 
distinct, and with the latter we are not concerned 
in this book. It was also apparent that the speakers 
at the conference were men holding very different 
views. Nevertheless the Report made certain things 

(1) The Modernist movement as a whole is not, 
as Dr. Sanday used to try to persuade us to believe, 
a movement which would be satisfied with eliminating 
from the Christian creed the affirmation of certain 
miracles, leaving the ideas about God and the 
Incarnation untouched. It is a movement which 
as a whole demands a trenchant rehandling of our 
doctrine of God and of the person of Christ. It is 
a clear gain to recognize this. The really root 
^Report in Modern Churchman, Sept. 1921. 


question is the question of what sort is the God in 
whom we believe. 1 

(2) Some of those who took part in the conference 
" differ " (as one of them says) " from the Chalce- 
donian Fathers by holding that the substances of 
deity and humanity are not two but one. Perfect 
humanity is deity under human conditions." 2 I 
have already sought to make it evident that such an 
idea as this was familiar enough in the Greek world, 
but is quite contrary to the fundamental Hebrew 
doctrine of God the Creator, always essentially and 
fundamentally distinct from all His creatures, which 
our Lord and His apostles take for granted. 3 That 
men are portions of God in respect of their reason 
or spirit that God would not be complete without 
man that a man by becoming good and realizing 
himself as a rational being would become God or 
a god are familiar propositions in certain types of 
Hellenism and (except the last) in certain types of 
modern philosophy. But they are flatly contrary to 
the root conceptions on which our religion was based. 
The first matter (intellectually speaking) on which we 
have to make up our minds is whether the Hebrew 
conception of God, which is the foundation of the 
Christian religion, is valid i.e. due to a real self- 
disclosure of God through the Hebrew prophets and 
Jesus Christ. We only lose time by trying to evade 
this question. In the volume which preceded this 
I have sought carefully to examine it, and to give the 
reasons which seem to me to justify the belief in a 
positive self-disclosure of God on which the Christian 
Gospel is based. 

1 This is admirably emphasized in an article by the Rev. Richard 
Hanson, " Anglicanism and Modern Problems," Church Quarterly, 
April 1922. 

2 Report, pp. 196-8. Again, p. 293. The idea thus expressed, 
" They treat God and man as two distinct, real existences (sub- 
stances) each with its own special characteristics," is repudiated as 

8 See above, p. 5 ; and Belief in God, chaps, v and vi. 


(3) Others in the Conference repudiated very 
emphatically the conception which we find so 
decidedly expressed in St. Paul and St. John of a 
divine person, pre-existing, who in the fulness of 
time became man for our salvation. 1 Language is 
used which suggests the ancient idea of Adoptionism 
the idea of a perfectly good man and singularly 
inspired prophet raised to divine honours and 
identified with God. Now I associate myself wholly 
with a remark made by Dr. Kirsopp Lake 2 : 
" Adoptionism seems to me to have no part or lot 
in any intelligent modern theology, though it is 
unfortunately often promulgated, especially in pulpits 
which are regarded as liberal. We cannot believe 
that at any time a human being, in consequence 
of his virtue, became God, which he was not before, 
or that any human being will ever do so. No doctrine 
of Christology, and no doctrine of salvation, which 
is Adoptionist in essence, can ever come to terms 
with modern thought." I do not think there is 
any doubt that we have in our day to choose ulti- 
mately between the incarnation doctrine of St. 
Paul and St. John and the Creeds and, on the other 
hand, the conception of Christ as the best, or one 
of the best, and most inspired of men, who left to 
men the heritage of the grandest teaching about 
the fatherhood of God, and the possibilities of 
humanity, and the purest example of love and 
sacrifice, and who, after His death, was deified only 
in the imagination of His disciples. But I cannot 
square the record of Jesus, as it stands, with such 
incontestable evidence of reality, in the Gospels, or 
the record of the impression which He made on His 
disciples, with any merely humanitarian estimate 
of Him. The bedrock of the Catholic conviction 
about Jesus is in these earliest records. But on this 

1 Report, pp. 287, 288, 276 f. 

8 Landmarlis in Early Christianity, pp. 131-2. 


I have already said what seems to me the certain 
truth 1 ; and I can only ask my readers to concentrate 
on this point all their powers of spiritual appre- 
hension, with the sincere desire to reach a decision. 
Before I take leave of them, I shall ask them to 
estimate the importance for human life which is 
involved in that decision. 2 But all that I ask for 
now is a frank and conscientious exercise of the 
responsibility of judgment on the facts of the case. 
Dr. Bethune Baker at the Cambridge Conference 
spoke of men being " hypnotized by orthodox pre- 
suppositions." I seem to see more intelligent people 
to-day who are hypnotized by unorthodox pre- 
suppositions. However, there is no question at 
present of orthodoxy or unorthodoxy. These words 
imply an ecclesiastical authority, and no question 
of ecclesiastical authority has been raised at all. 
I have been trying to proceed simply as an individual 
doing his best to form a true judgment in view of 
all the facts. That seems to be for many minds 
to-day the first necessity. And I ask for a like 
frankness on the part of my readers. 


But there is no doubt that the New Testament 
doctrine of the person of Christ, while it has inspired 
and still inspires the faith of millions, also rouses 
a sense of antagonism in a great many minds an 
antagonism of a kind which is peculiar to our time. 
They feel what can perhaps best be expressed by 
saying that the doctrine in effect dehumanizes 
Christ, even if in theory and formally it safeguards 
His manhood. This Christ, they say, whom you 
describe as sinless, and who certainly, if the pages 

1 See above, p. 46 ff. 
8 See below, pp. 314 ff. 


of the Gospels can be taken to give an undistorted 
picture of Him, appears as never betraying any 
sense of error, moral weakness, or insufficiency- this 
Christ moreover whom you describe as personally 
the eternal Son of God manifested in human flesh, 
and at no moment therefore merely man makes 
no appeal to us. His example is of no use to us. 
What we need for our help and encouragement is a 
man who is only a man and has no resources but 
such as are common to men, and no exemptions from 
human frailties. Only such a Christ could encourage 
us to believe that we can become as he was. 

Words like these are often used with deep sincerity 
and real passion. When like words were used to 
Augustine many centuries ago, he pressed his Pelagian 
antagonist with the inquiry whether he meant that 
he wanted a Christ who starts precisely from the 
common human level of sinfulness ; and whether, 
therefore, he would not, if he were logical, find the 
most encouraging Christ to be one who had to start 
with the most evilly disposed nature to tame, and 
the most unruly lusts and passions to subdue. 1 
This is a very shrewd question which the objector 
would not have found it easy to answer. In fact, 
if it is merely a question of an encouraging example, 
the most valuable example for each of us would appear 
to be the person who starts most completely on 
his own level. But it is impossible to read the 
Gospels and not feel that Jesus Christ did not appeal 
to men primarily or chiefly as an example they 

1 Augustine, c. Julian, op. imperfect, iv. cc. 48-57. These are very 
interesting chapters. See c. 49 : " Christue . . . eicut in virtu te 
omnium hominum maximus, ita ease in came libidinosissimus 
debuit " ; and c. 62 : "Sic ee amator egregius castitatis ut 
tibi castior videatur qui concubitus illicitos cupit, Bed ut non 
perpretret, suae cupiditati resistit." Again Christ, according to 
Julian, should be represented as saying, "Estote ergo casti, quia, 
ut vobis ad me imitandum obstacula excusationis auferrem, 
libininoaior vobis nasci volui, et tamen maximam libidinem meam 
concessos fines nunquam transire permisi." 


could follow. They felt Him to be in some for- 
midable sense above them teaching and working 
with a quite extraordinary authority drawing them 
with a tremendous claim as from above claiming, 
controlling, saving, judging. About this there can 
be no question, if the Gospels are in any sense 
historical. And it is no use fashioning a Christ 
of our own fancy. 

We must not, of course, minimize the reality and 
value of His human example. Certainly, as St. 
Peter says, He left us an example that we should 
follow in His steps. This cannot be too strongly 
or constantly insisted upon, and we will come back 
to it. But first of all let us think out the meaning 
of this plea for an example on our own level. Let 
us realize the limitations of mere example. The 
mere example of one individual man upon his fellows 
tells most when men are living close together under 
similar conditions as amongst the crew of a ship, 
or the soldiers of a regiment, or the boys of a school, 
or the members of a profession. Anything which 
suggests difference of conditions weakens the force 
of mere example and speedily annihilates it. The 
example of a respectable clergyman's temperance 
has no effect upon a man living in an uncomfort- 
able cottage with no refuge but the public-house. 
Difference of race, again, or remoteness of time, 
almost at once destroys the force of example. An 
Englishman is not commonly much impressed by 
the hardness of ancient Spartans or the asceticism 
of Indian fakirs. Once again the strong sense of 
what we call genius in another, in proportion to the 
feeling of uniqueness which it arouses in us, destroys 
the appeal of his example. In all these ways, it must 
be acknowledged, the mere example of a Christ who 
lived nearly two thousand years ago in remote 
Syria, under conditions utterly unlike ours one, 
moreover, who was on all showing a supreme moral 


genius would have little effect on us to-day, and 
indeed would hardly have survived in the memory 
of men but as a remote legend. 

In fact, if you look to the men of supreme moral 
and religious influence in our race, you find that 
this influence has depended upon their power of 
perpetuating themselves in some sort of institution 
or system of teaching and discipline. The Buddha 
perpetuated himself in " the way " which he taught 
the way of escape into the ultimate Nirvana out 
of the endless and weary succession of existences ; 
and the success of his method for those who accept 
his premiss that life is an evil to be escaped from 
has been made evident down the generations in 
constant examples. What we have to take note of 
in the case of our Lord is the actual manner in which 
his example and teaching were in fact perpetuated, 
and we shall be astonished, and perhaps at first 
irritated, to find how in fact it was the belief in Him 
as a person essentially superhuman and divine which 
alone enabled His influence to become permanently 

As a teacher, living as man among men, it ap- 
peared that neither His teaching nor His example 
was effective with His first disciples. He was alto- 
gether too high for them too unworldly. They 
failed under the strain He laid upon them and de- 
serted Him. What recovered them was their hardly 
won faith in His resurrection, which convinced them 
of His supernatural Sonship, and their consciousness 
of the divine Spirit His Father's Spirit and His 
own received as a distinctive gift at a memorable 
moment. Thereby they realized Christ as their 
living Lord who from heaven was inspiring, guiding, 
governing and enriching them with an inward life ; in 
virtue of which His outward example, their memory 
of which is recorded in the Gospels, became some- 
thing quite different from the mere example of a 


departed hero. The example living in their memory 
was the pattern of humanity, or " the way," in 
accordance with which He was moulding them from 
heaven by His Spirit. It was only " in Christ " that 
they could follow Christ. But it was only because 
He was something more than man something in 
respect of which they would have felt it madness to 
equal themselves with Him that He could be living 
in them and they in Him that He could thus have 
access to their inmost souls, and remake them, and 
" dwell in their hearts by faith." 

And this has been true for all successive generations 
of Christians. The example of Christ has been of 
supreme importance. He called Himself the Son of 
Man, or the Man. That pattern of glorious man- 
hood glorious in all its relations, Godward and man- 
ward, and not least in its matchless self-control- 
has appealed to men in each successive generation 
as presenting an ideal before which all cynicism is 
put to flight. Here is the man whose life is alto- 
gether worthy of fullest admiration. If He is the 
real man, there remains no manner of doubt in our 
hearts that the life of a man, even under extremest 
conditions of failure and suffering, is altogether worth 
liring. But in its supreme perfection it would seem 
to us, as it seemed to the first disciples, an example 
of despair. It postulates for life forces and powers 
which we seem to lack. And, in fact, He appears 
in the Gospels as claiming a mastery over other 
men's lives which it is not for a mere man to claim. 
But He did not end by setting an example. He 
died, but He is still alive. That is the point of 
the Christian belief. It concerns " one Jesus who 
was dead, whom Paul," and all Christians since, have 
" affirmed to be alive." Yes, alive in the heavens 
the same Son of God who came down from heaven 
to redeem our nature from within by Himself taking 
it, and exalting it into the glory of God ; and who 


thus alive in the heavens is alive in us also by His 
Spirit, moulding us inwardly into the pattern of the 
life He showed us outwardly in word and work. 
There is no possibility of question that this is the 
way in which Christ's example has in fact appealed 
to men in the succession of generations. They have 
studied " the life," " the way," in the pages of the 
Gospel, as described in His words and as lived in 
His conduct, and also as reflected in countless saints 
who were His true disciples ; and however low the 
level at which they may have started to become His 
disciples and to imitate Him, however degraded and 
polluted they have felt their manhood to be, they 
have not despaired because they believed in Him, 
not only as their pattern of manhood, but as their 
Redeemer, in whose name they were set free from all 
the guilt of the past and were granted that incom- 
parable blessing, the forgiveness of their sins that 
is, the opportunity constantly renewed of a fresh 
start free from all the guilt and burden of the past 
and also that without which example and absolution 
would have been alike useless the gift of the Spirit, 
the Spirit of His Father and His own Spirit, poured 
into them out of His heavenly manhood to purge them 
and strengthen them and renew them inwardly after 
the pattern which in His human life He had shown 
them outwardly. No one can doubt that that has 
been the way in which Christ has exerted His in- 
fluence and made His example effective down the 
centuries like the example of no other man. This 
sort of influence has a sort of analogy in the influence 
of other men over their fellows. But in His case 
there has been an " influence " or " inflowing " of 
Him into all those who have accepted Him as their 
Master which has been quite distinctive. Of no mere 
man could it be said that he could thus gain effective 
entry into the very centre of the personalities of all 
other men, so as to renew them from the roots of 


their being by his spirit, and make them " in 
him" new men. That is a recreative act which, 
in the full sense in which it has been experienced 
from the first, can be assigned to none other than 
Him " in whom we live and move and are." 

Unless I am very much mistaken, there is singu- 
larly prevalent to-day, especially in the English- 
speaking world, what is, I am persuaded, at the 
bottom an irrational pride the sort of pride which 
is rooted in a wholly false view of human independ- 
ence which is only willing to accept a doctrine of 
incarnation if it be understood as the incarnation of 
God in humanity at large, of which the incarnation 
in Christ is only what I may call the foremost speci- 
men. According to this presentation, I am to see in 
Christ what I have it in me to become. He demon- 
strates the power of the divine Spirit in humanity 
in a sense which, without Him, I should never per- 
haps have suspected, but which, once instructed by 
Him, I can realize in myself without needing from 
Him anything but the light of His example. He 
says to us, in effect, " You can all be Christ s like 
me, if you will." But this is the most astonishingly 
unhistorical representation. I do not mean merely 
that the matter is not so represented in the New 
Testament, but that it has not so been realized in 
Christian experience. 

However, the highest type of Christian experience 
may be found in the New Testament. And what 
we find there does, to a degree which startles us, 
negate the manner of thinking and speaking which 
I have just tried to describe. 

In the New Testament there is scarcely a hint to 
be found of a universal gift of the Spirit of God to 
men because they are men. 1 There is suggested a 

1 James iv 5 is, of course, very difficult. If it means " He [God] 
jealously longs for the spirit which He [at our original creation, 
when He breathed into our nostrils the breath of life] caused to 


universal presence to all men of the divine Light 
which is the Word of God, 1 but the Spirit, who makes 
the light effectual, is, as a matter of fact, represented 
as given only through the Risen Christ to those who 
believe in Him, and as a gift communicated at a 
definable moment. Let us confine ourselves to the 
historical or literary facts for the present. I am 
not saying that the New Testament excludes the 
idea that the Holy Spirit is in such sense " the 
giver of life," as that wherever life is, and especially 
wherever rational and moral life is, He Himself must 
be. This is indeed suggested in the Old Testament. 
There God's spirit or breath is in all things and 
inspires the natural gifts of all men, as well as the 
special endowments of the prophets. As the Book 
of Wisdom says, " the spirit of the Lord filleth the 
world." And I think the orthodox Christian theology 
of the Holy Trinity makes such an assumption in- 
evitable. Thus we are not to agree with Origen, 
who would seemingly have actually limited the 
activity of the Holy spirit within the circle of " the 
saints," or the believing Church. It is not for us 
so to limit God's activity. The Spirit, like the wind 
which represents Him, " bloweth where it listeth." 
Nevertheless, from end to end of the New Testament 
the gift of the Spirit is only contemplated first as 
given to John the Baptist, the prophet who is to 
prepare for Christ, 2 then as especially the agent 
in the conception of Christ, 8 then as imparted to 
Christ for the fulfilment of His mission, 4 and, finally, 
as to be expected from Him and as actually poured 
out by Him upon those who believe in Him. Thus 
in the Gospels men are expected to see in Christ the 
action of the Holy Spirit, and it is blasphemy against 

dwell in us," as Dr. Hort interprets, then there is no reference here 
to anything but the spirit of man, which is distinct from the Spirit 
of God. 

1 John i 9. * Luke i 15, also ii 26 ff. to Simeon. 

3 Luke i 35. Mark i 10. 


the Spirit to attribute His works to the evil one. 
And the disciples are to expect the Spirit as a future 
endowment which they have not yet received. This, 
of course, is in a very marked way the teaching 
of the Fourth Gospel : " The Spirit was not yet 
(given), because Jesus was not yet glorified." l " My 
Father will give you another helper in my name," or 
" I will send him unto you." 2 But it is equally the 
teaching of St. Luke at the beginning of the Acts. 
There the disciples are anxiously to await a gift 
which they have not yet received, arid the gift is 
represented as communicated in an objective form 
under memorable conditions on the day of Pentecost. 
Afterwards, also, the gift appears as given in an 
objective manner in baptism and the laying on 
of hands. 3 The disciples of John the Baptist 
at Ephesus need to be instructed about the gift 
of the Holy Ghost and to receive Him in due 
manner. 4 

Even the saintly Roman soldier Cornelius, with the 
pious group around him, though his prayers and alms 
have already gained him acceptance with God, and 
though God makes evident by a visible manifestation 
that He has given him His Spirit, must receive at 
least the outward form of baptism. 5 So important * 
it is to make it evident that the New Israel only, 
the Church of Jesus Christ, is the home or sphere 
of the Spirit. I suppose that if you had asked a 
New Testament disciple what it is to be a Christian, 
he would have given one of two replies either that 
a Christian is one who believes that Jesus is Lord 
or that he is one who has " received the Spirit " 
of God. St. Paul uses the phrase as equivalent to 
being a Christian. "Received ye the Spirit," he 
asks, " by the works of the law or by the hearing 
of faith ? ' : It is not possible to state too strongly 

1 John vii 39. John xiv 16, xv 26. 

3 Acts viii 17-18. xix 1-6. 5 Acts x 24-47. 



that the Spirit is, in the New Testament, regarded 
as possessing the Church, and as not to be expected 
or looked for except as received from Christ and 
within the membership of His society. 

Let us then sum the matter up. Thank God the 
New Testament sets no limit to the activity of the 
divine Spirit. Nay, it may truly be said that it is 
blasphemy against the Spirit to deny His activity 
wherever we see active goodness among men. But it 
is true that the New Testament deliberately concen- 
trates our attention upon the new gift of the Spirit 
as given in Christ and through Christ. It tells us 
that all that we see in the man Christ is to be made 
common to all men of good will but it adds " in 
Christ " and " through Christ." It addresses man- 
kind as needing to be redeemed, and the effective 
evidence of such redemption is found in the gift 
of the Spirit communicated to them as a newly- 
given gift from Christ. We are all to be anointed by 
the same Spirit which possessed Him we are all 
(if you will) to be Christs but it is not as individuals 
in our own right. That right we are left to suppose 
we have lost and can only recover in Christ. 1 It is 
idle to dispute that this is the message of the Bible. 
Thus there is truly to be an incarnation of God in 
humanity, but it is in the New Humanity, through 
Christ, by deliberate faith and conscious incorpora- 
tion into His society. That is the message declared 
and covenanted and open. What lies in the secret 
counsels of God for humanity beyond the area of 
this message, or where the message has been mis- 
understood because misdelivered, is not part of the 
message, though it may be part of the hope of the 
human heart which has been taught in Christ that 
God is justice and love, and that there is no limit to 
His love. 

1 John i 12, " As many as received him, to them gave he the 
right to become children of God." 


Then to wind all this up. I think no one who 
considers how the Catholic Church has blurred the 
full message of Christ's humanity and His human 
example of which we shall have sad occasion to 
speak can be anyway surprised if such unfaithful- 
ness has led to violent reactions of feeling against 
the Church and the message of the Church. But 
after all, what we want to know is the truth about 
the Christian message : and also we make an eager 
appeal to the specifically Christian experience. Of 
the Christian message then as the New Testament 
expounds it and as Christian experience over the 
centuries has on the whole confirmed it, I say this 
without hesitation : that it does not proclaim a 
Christ whose human example would have sufficed 
for us : or a Christ who is only a specimen of the 
forces of manhood which we all already carry within 
ourselves. It proclaims Christ the Man indeed, 
but the man whom we need as our saviour as well as 
our example whom we need to make us new men, 
through faith in Him and by the receiving of His 
Spirit, in such a way as is inconceivable unless He 
is all along something much more than man. So 
that the very features of the Person which seem 
to remove His example furthest from us appear at 
the last as the very conditions of its being brought 
close to us in permanently effective power. 


There is another kind of objection to the idea or 
doctrine of Christ as really the manifestation of God 
in manhood, on the ground of doubts about His 
moral perfection. I am sure, for instance, that there 
are a good many honest people who feel that our 
Lord's tremendous denunciations of the scribes and 
Pharisees l are indiscriminating and violent that 
1 Matt, xxii, Mark xii 38-40, Luke XK 45-7. 


they would indeed be in the spirit of the Old Testa- 
ment, but that, if Christ really uttered them, they 
were not worthy of Him. 

Again, the " cursing of the barren fig-tree," taken 
as it stands in Mark, is described as expressing a 
spirit of sudden anger, unreasoning and revengeful ; 
so that the critics, who are very skilful in getting 
rid of what they do not like, very commonly seek to 
exclude it as a historical incident from the narrative, 
and represent it as a parable misunderstood. I do 
not think they are successful. For it stands a very 
vividly described incident in St. Mark's narrative, 
with details which seem singularly precise and con- 
vincing. 1 It is true that St. Mark's explanatory 
phrase, " for the time of figs was not yet," appears 
to be misleading. What our Lord was apparently 
expecting to feed upon was the green knops (the 
" green figs " of Cant, ii 13) which appear on the 
fig-tree before the leaves, and without which any 
leafy fig-tree will, of course, be barren for the year. 
These green knops are, we are informed, still 
commonly eaten in Palestine. Not finding any, 
our Lord discerned in the fig-tree the type of an 
outward show of life (the leaves) which is in fact 
unfruitful, and He pronounced a solemn doom on 
this deceitful show. It seems to me a miracle of 
judgment very penetrating in its significance. I do 
not feel the least inclined either to doubt the fact 
or to apologize for it. 

As to the denunciations of the scribes and Pharisees, 
they may perhaps have been directed, not against 
all the scribes and Pharisees, but against a certain 
class or section of them. But if the Gospels and 
St. Paul represent the historical situation with any 
fidelity, these rigid maintainers of Jewish orthodoxy 
and tradition were as a class deeply corrupted by 
formalism, self-righteousness, hypocrisy and self- 

Markxi 12 ff. t 20 ff. 


seeking. 1 Our Lord does not appear anywhere to 
have denounced the principle of ecclesiastical 
authority or ceremonial observance- to this question 
we will come back in the next volume but, if we 
consider what the characteristic vices of ecclesiastical 
authority have been in many ages when the Church 
was seemingly powerful, and the awful hindrance 
to the spiritual influence of Christ's religion which 
these characteristic vices of ecclesiastics have proved 
themselves to be, we shall surely feel that the Master 
of human life, who discerned so deeply its tendencies 
and dangers, had good cause to utter even the 
tremendous denunciations which are ascribed to 
Him of pride and selfishness parading itself in the 
guise of religion. Again I cannot apologize or 
explain away. I know indeed that there is a spirit 
m our age which would like to eliminate out of its 
conception of God the whole element of fiery indig- 
nation, whether against false religion or any other 
kind of sin. " I believe," writes one of our 
modernists, " that we shall come to see that it is 
precisely those contemporary ideas of the wrath of 
God and His ultimate avenging activity as destroy- 
ing Judge, which are the unauthentic elements in 
the teaching ascribed to Jesus." 2 Language like 
this, I confess, makes me shiver. I feel sure in my 
conscience that if God is really as the prophets 
disclose Him, and sin is essentially what the Bible 
represents it as being and the deepest spiritual 
experience of Christendom has given its assent to 
the representation the wrath of God against sin 
and the awfulness of final judgment remain a quite 
essential and permanent element of " the truth as 
it is in Jesus." Thus I read our Lord's tremendous 
" dooms " with awe and terror indeed, but not 

1 See Rom. ii 17-23, and, besides the passages in the note on 
p. 183, Luke xvi 14. 

1 Dr. Emmet in the Modem Churchman, p. 221. 


with any expectation that the enlightened con- 
science of men will ever have cause to wish them 
away. Without them the picture of Jesus would 
fail altogether to represent the whole truth about 

It is, of course, sometimes pleaded that we have 
no right to claim for our Lord moral perfection in 
the fullest sense that in fact He disclaimed such 
goodness when He said to the young man " Why 
callest thou me good ? None is good save one, 
even God." l But it is, I think, certainly a mistake 
so to interpret His words. In the Gospels generally 
our Lord seems to present Himself to His disciples 
as an infallible guide and teacher and pattern. 
There is not in all our Lord's words (other than the 
words in question) the slightest sign of the conscious- 
ness of sin or of the fear of going wrong. Certainly 
He cannot have disclaimed goodness, even in the 
highest sense, with any kind of consistency. And 
the saying in question admits of a very natural and 
suggestive interpretation. This young man came in 
a spirit that was both self-complacent and flatter- 
ing. Doubtless he both wanted to make himself 
agreeable and to receive commendation. It was a 
cheap thing to say " Good Master," and our Lord 
pulls him up. 4 Young man, think what goodness 
means when you call me good." I do not think 
our Lord either disclaims goodness, nor, on the other 
hand, that He means, as some orthodox com- 
mentators have suggested, that He is good because 
He is God. I think He simply means that the 
goodness the young man is in search of is to be 
found in God only, and he is not to give flattering 
titles to men. 

There are at least three occasions where our 
Lord appears in the Gospels as simply challenging 

1 St. Mark x 18 and Luke xviii 18. St. Matthew seems to 
tone the saying down (xix 17). 


men to think before they speak not to make glib 
statements, or use convenient arguments which 
intellectual or moral consistency ought to make 
them shrink from. Thus He confronts the glib 
and constant statement of the scribes, that the 
Christ was to be the son of David l with the language 
of the psalm, held to be David's, where he appears 
to address the future Christ as Lord, and He asks 
how David could call His future son his "Lord." 
I do not think it is at all necessary to suppose that 
Christ was here making any pronouncement on the 
authorship of the psalm. He was simply pressing 
the scribes with the duty of thinking before they 
spoke His meaning being that their account of 
the Christ was inadequate in the light of their own 
Scriptures. So in the same way we should interpret 
the strange passage, referred to earlier, in St. John, 2 
where our Lord, so contrary to His general teach- 
ing in this Gospel which is quite unmistakable 
appears to minimize the meaning of the title " Son 
of God." He seems to have meant that, at least in 
some sense, His opponents must recognize its legiti- 
macy in the case of anyone who represents in any 
way the authority of God. In all these cases 
mistaken conclusions have been drawn from the 
words of Jesus as that He did not claim goodness, 
or that He disowned sonship to David, or that He 
meant little by calling Himself Son of God. These 
conclusions are shown to be mistaken by the general 
sense of His teaching. What He was doing in these 
cases was to insist on men's thinking before they 
spoke thinking whether a convenient argument or 
lightly uttered word was not really incompatible 
with what intellectual consistency or moral serious- 
ness would force them to acknowledge. And this 
is surely a very important lesson. 

But we return to our main thesis. It is indeed 
1 Mark xii 35. a John x 36. See above, pp. 5-6. 


the case that we could hardly believe the doctrine of 
the Incarnation, if we saw evidence of hasty passion 
and moral imperfection in Jesus, or if He appeared 
to have confessed to being deficient in goodness. 
But such evidences and confessions are not really 
,to be found. The character of Jesus, as the Gospels 
describe Him, remains in the moral region supreme 
and perfect so impressive, I think, in its majesty, 
that it hushes in our minds the first suggestions of 

Finally we have the suggestion to consider, that 
Jesus showed Himself in certain respects unmistak- 
ably deluded the victim of current errors. Without 
asking what kind of belief concerning Jesus would 
be compatible with the acceptance of such a sug- 
gestion, let us first of all consider carefully and 
frankly the facts of the case. 

We are bound to recognize in Jesus a real limita- 
tion of knowledge. He Himself in a saying which 
cannot be supposed to have been invented for Him, 
but which is assuredly authentic declared Himself 
ignorant of the day and hour of the end of the world. 
He had no map of the future spread before His eyes. 
He, the Son of God at least in His mortal life 
was limited in knowledge and knew His limitation. 
Thus there is no sign whatever that He transcended 
the knowledge of natural things common to His 
Palestinian contemporaries. Also, there is no pre- 
tension of knowledge on any such subject. There 
is in His teaching none of the " science falsely so- 
called," which abounds in the contemporary apoca- 
lypses. He cannot be said to have given any teaching 
at all on any subject except on the great spiritual 
subjects. And on these He seems to speak with a 
sense of full authority amounting to infallibility. 


I cannot resist that impression. " Verily, I say 
unto you." That is enough. 1 

But there are certain points on which our Lord 
is commonly supposed to have given positive teaching 
which was in fact erroneous. 

1. He is supposed to have proclaimed His own 
immediate coming in glory and the end of " this 
world." I have dealt with this point at length. 2 
The conclusion which the facts seem to me to warrant 
is that our Lord expressly disclaimed knowledge of 
the time and season of the end, and expressly warned 
His disciples against supposing that God intended 
such knowledge for them, though His disciples, or 
some of them, misunderstood Him. There is no 
real warrant for ascribing delusion to our Lord's 
mind on the subject. Under this head no more 
will be said here. 

2. He is perceived to have shared the current 
belief in devils and diabolic possession ; and this, 
it is taken for granted, was no more than a super- 
stition which we have outgrown. 

Now I am not disposed to deny that in this matter 
also there may have been occasional misunder- 
standings on the part of His disciples. As I read 
the account of the healing of the Gadarene, or 
Gerasine, demoniac in St. Mark (Mark v 1-17), it 
suggests itself somewhat readily that the supposed 
permission given by Jesus for the entry of the 
"' legion " of demons into the swine may have been 
a misinterpretation on the part of the disciples. 
And sometimes, when our Lord is speaking of evil 
spirits, He undoubtedly uses metaphorical language. 8 
But I think it is quite certain that He did believe 
in evil and in good spirits, and in their activity 
among men ; and not only did He believe this, but 

1 On our Lord's use of " Amen," see Dalman, Words of Jesus, 
pp. 226 ff. 

Chap. V. 3 E.g. Luke xi 24-7. 


He made it a quite distinct element in His teaching. 
He would have His disciples look out upon the world 
as a scene in which the conflict of good and evil 
is not merely carried on among men. Behind the 
activities of bad men He sees an awful invisible 
agency organizing and maintaining a kingdom of 
evil and enslaving the souls of men. " An enemy 
hath done this " an evil will or army of wills, set 
to thwart the good purpose of God. 1 And in various 
widespread kinds of disease He recognized evil 
spirits as possessing men and women, and constantly 
dealt with them accordingly. 

But have we the right to class all this as delusions 
which we have outgrown ? Certainly, as to the 
existence of spirits and their activity among men 
there has been a very widespread assent given by 
the conscience of men, and of men of the profoundest 
spiritual insight. The testimony of such a man 
as Frederick Denison Maurice is very impressive. 2 
I do not think our knowledge authorizes any denial 
of it. It seems to me that not only the personal 
experience of individual souls but the spectacle of 
the organization and continuity of evil influences in 
the world, suggests the truth of the explanation 
which our Lord certainly adopted as His own. And 
as to the reality of diabolic possession, I have been 
again and again deeply impressed by the testimony 
of missionaries in non-Christian countries, that they 
are not able to doubt it. * 4 It may or may not 
exist in England," they say, " but it certainly 
exists in India or China or Africa." 

On the whole in view of the deep mystery of 
evil in the world I fail to see what right men have 
to treat the belief in evil spirits and their activity, 

1 See Mark iii 22-30; Luke xi 17-26 (the obvious metaphors 
do not conceal the also obvious intention of teaching truth) ; Matt, 
xiii 28 ; Luke x 18, xiii 16, xxii 31, etc. 

* See my St. John's Epistle*, pp. 145 ff. 


or the belief in good spirits or angels, as error and 
delusion, or as childish fancy which the mature 
mind outgrows. But one point must be kept steadily 
in view. The whole world in our Lord's time, and 
Palestine not less than other districts, was weighed 
down by the terror of evil spirits, just as a great 
part of the world is to-day. Jesus no doubt affirmed 
that they really existed and were the cause of 
numberless moral and physical evils. But He would 
not suffer men to remain in dread of them. His 
whole teaching was of redemption. If men would 
trust God, they could be free free from the fear 
of evil spirits and from the fear of death. And He 
was come to lead them to this liberty. As He is 
recorded to have said to the Seventy : " I beheld 
Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. Behold, 
I have given you authority to tread upon serpents 
and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy : 
and nothing shall in any wise hurt you." 1 No 
doubt it was this sense of victory over the powers 
of evil among Christians which, as much as anything, 
promoted the spread of the Church. The character- 
istic of Christians should not be their belief in the 
activity of evil spirits, but their belief that they 
are impotent against the Redeemer of men. 

3. There is lastly the assertion to be considered 
that our Lord gave positive teaching about the Old 
Testament which identifies Him with traditional 
ideas about that literature which modern critical 
science has shown to be untrue. I think this is an 
exaggeration. On the whole our Lord's teaching 
about the Old Testament is most remarkable for its 
profound spiritual truth. No doubt, as He spoke 
of the sun rising, so He spoke of the Books of 
the Law as by Moses and the Psalter as by David, 
and drew lessons from the narratives without any 
question being raised of their historical character. 
1 Luke x 18-19. 


It would have been impossible to do otherwise, if 
He was freely to use human language intelligible 
to the people of Galilee or the Rabbis of Jerusalem. 
I should suppose that He did not know what the 
progress of critical science has made fairly evident 
to us, but I should suppose also that there was in 
His own consciousness a great distinction clearly 
present between what He did know the spiritual 
content of His message and all the popular assump- 
tions of knowledge on matters which were not within 
His scope. On matters not within the scope of His 
mission, He appears as giving no positive teaching 
at all. 

The only occasion on which it seems to me that 
it can be plausibly pleaded that He laid stress upon 
a question of authorship or literary character in 
books of the Bible was in His argument about Ps. ex. 
On that occasion the verbal difference between the 
narratives of the three Evangelists makes it evident 
that we cannot rely on having the precise words of 
Christ. On the other hand His purpose is quite 
plain. It is not, as some moderns would have us 
believe, to repudiate the Davidic descent of the 
Christ, but to make it plain that the Scribes, 
if they w r ere true to their accepted principles, would 
not be able to speak as if the Christ was to be the 
Son of David and nothing more. They must recog- 
nize Him as David's Lord as well as David's Son. 
I think it is quite enough for the fair interpretation 
of the passage to represent our Lord as confronting 
the Scribes with the requirements of their own lore, 
without laying any stress on it Himself. I have 
already pointed out that this sort of argumentum 
ad hominem appears to have been characteristic of 
our Lord. I should like to repeat that I believe 
there must have been in His own consciousness 
a vast region of common assumptions which He was 
content to take for granted without confusing them 


with the things which He knew. 1 Thus as concerns 
the argument about Ps. ex, I do not think we are 
compelled either to force men in the name of Jesus 
to accept a theory of authorship which seems to us 
very improbable, or to declare Christ mistaken. 
It belonged to a region of knowledge in which He 
knew that He had no commission, and in which 
knowledge beyond that of His contemporaries 
would, in fact, not have helped but hindered His 

As to the bearing of our Lord's limited human 
knowledge on the theory of the Incarnation, more 
will be said in the next chapter. Here I want only 
to draw a distinction, which I think the facts warrant, 
between limitation of knowledge which must be 
acknowledged in Him and anything which can be 
called delusion or the teaching of error, of which I 
cannot see the traces. 

I know there are many good men who would say 
that we can believe that our Lord was really the 
victim of certain current delusions and taught in 
accordance with these delusions, without affecting 
our faith in the reality of the Incarnation as St. Paul 
and St. John believed it. Here I admit I stumble. 
But I need not pursue the question, because I dis- 
pute the premiss. I see no positive delusion or error 
in the teaching of Jesus. The truth of what He can 
fairly be said to have taught seems to me to stand 
secure, in spite of all the developments of science and 
changes of human circumstance. 

I have been seeking in this chapter only to show 
what seems to me the essential weakness and one- 
sidedness of each of the various humanitarian 
estimates of Christ, and to obviate the objections 
which are made against the doctrine of His person 
as St. Paul and St. John present it to us. There is 

1 On the limitations of our Lord's knowledge within the sphere 
of His mortal life as man, see below, pp. 225 ff. 


always, however, something unsatisfactory about the 
result of saying no to a string of objections. Each 
answer may seem in turn fairly satisfactory, but 
there remains the sense that there is or may be 
" something in them." And, in fact, on a subject 
so great and mysterious as the person of Christ, it 
is absurd to suppose that everything will be clear. 
I have done my best with each of the objections in 
turn, and I am not without hope that the answer 
in each case will be felt to be stronger than the 
objection. But it is quite certain that it is not 
by any such negative process that any real con- 
viction will be won. The real conviction must come 
from the study of the positive picture in the Gospels. 
It must be the gradually growing assurance that 
this picture is not one which can be due to human 
invention or imagination. It must overwhelm us 
with the sense of its truth, and with the sense that 
only the doctrine of the Incarnation can really 
interpret it or account for it. And toward this 
sort of conviction the removal of objections and the 
consideration of particular literary problems only 
make a very partial contribution. The conviction 
itself must be of the sort suggested by Jesus Himself 
when He said of Peter's first conviction of His 
Messiahship : " Flesh and blood hath not revealed 
it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven," 
and of the sort which St. Paul meant when he said, 
" No man can say Jesm is Lord but in the Holy 

Certainly it is not the case that our deepest and 
most important convictions are those which involve 
least difficulty, or those against which fewest ob- 
jections can be plausibly urged. Certainly also, as 
concerns the faith in Christ's person, the Evangelists 
do not, on the whole, give us the impression that they 
sought to remove difficulties for faith out of their 
records. On the whole they give us the impression 


of candour and naivete in a high degree. It is not 
pleaded therefore that there are no difficulties about 
the traditional faith in Christ. What is pleaded is 
that, if all the facts are frankly faced, the only con 
ception which adequately account* for them is the 
conception which the first Church was led to form 
the conception of the incarnation of the Son of God 
the doctrine of " the Word made flesh." 




WE have been carefully reviewing the New Testa- 
ment, and we have seen good reason for reaching 
the conclusion that only the conception of Jesus 
as the eternal Son of God incarnate is adequate to 
account for the facts of the case that is especially 
the spiritual authority claimed and exercised by 
Him, which so plainly passes the limits of legitimate 
human influence, and His own occasional utterances 
about Himself; or, to view the matter from the 
side of the disciples, the awestruck devotion passing 
into worship which they experienced, and which 
they expressed after the Resurrection by calling 
their Master " the Lord " in a sense which certainly 
involves divine sovereignty. And we noted how 
carefully this conception of the Lord's person was 
expressed by St. Paul and St. John and in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews upon the background of, 
and consistently with, the traditional monotheism 
of the Jews, and how it was apparently accepted 
throughout the apostolic churches without con- 
troversy or demur how it is implied in the New 
Testament writings where it is not explicit. 


Merely considered as literary documents the 
earliest which remain to us concerning the origin 



of Christianity the books of the New Testament, 
or almost all of them, stand by themselves in 
importance. They alone represent the creative 
period of the Christian Church, in the sense that 
all the later literature represents an attitude of 
conscious dependence upon a message already 
delivered. Thus (1) we know practically nothing 
about our Lord except what we find in the New 
Testament. Among the few sayings ascribed to 
Him which are preserved outside the New Testament 
only one has any bearing upon the question of His 
person that which occurs among His sayings in a 
papyrus discovered not long ago on the site of 
Oxyrhynchus in Egypt x : " Where one is alone, 
so am I with him. Raise the stone and there you 
will find me ; cleave the wood and there am I too." 
This, if it were a genuine saying, would seem to 
ascribe to our Lord Himself a declaration of His 
universal presence in nature. But he would indeed 
be bold who would assert its genuineness. As 
Dr. Burkitt says, these brief sayings seem to repre- 
sent an early Egyptian amalgamation of Hellenistic 
and Christian ideas. And the apocryphal " Gospels " 
which remain to us serve no purpose at all except to 
show how poor a thing the early Christian imagina- 
tion proved to be when it sought to invent further 
accounts of our Lord's infancy or childhood, or of His 
appearances after His resurrection. Again (2) there 
is no other record of the first life of the Christian 
Church except St. Luke's in the Acts. (3) As to the 
Epistles, it would be impossible to make a brief 
statement about the signs of their early diffusion 
and influence which would be sufficiently accurate. 
Certainly some of St. Paul's most characteristic 
ideas as concerning justification by faith and the 
relation of Grace to Law did not deeply influence 
the early Church. Plainly they had not understood 

1 See Grenfell and Hunt, Logia lesou (1897), p. 12. 


him. But as far as the conception of Christ's person 
is concerned, the doctrine of the incarnation of the 
pre-existent divine Son in Jesus the Christ is the 
accepted tradition behind the earliest sub-apostolic 
writers Clement, Barnabas, Ignatius, Hermas and 
the Apologists. 1 It holds the field before the Christian 
Church had any New Testament. 

This is what the ordinary Christian has not grasped. 
The earliest Christian Church had a collection of 
Holy Scriptures ; but it was simply the Old Testa- 
ment canon. It is marvellous with what unanimity 
the Gentiles, who very soon swallowed up the Jewish 
element in the Church, accepted the Jewish founda- 
tion and the Jewish Scriptures. It was long before 
they collected their apostolic writings into a canon. 
The history of this formation of a canon is obscure, 
as very much is obscure in the earliest Christian 
history. But by the middle of the second century 
the four Gospels were practically canonized, and 
doubtless from very early days the apostolic Epistles 
were read in the churches to which they were addressed, 
and began to pass from church to church. How- 
ever, for the first hundred years of the Church's 
existence it had no Bible no standard of reference 
except the Old Testament and " the tradition " 
that is, the teaching first given in each local church 
by its apostolic founder, fortified by the constant 
intercourse between the different churches. We 
have already seen that the writers of the Epistles 
can take for granted a certain " tradition " as known 
to those they wrote to ; and from what they take 
for granted we can more or less gather the content 
ef the tradition in the different churches. 2 

So equipped, then, the young churches started on 
their career in a world singularly well adapted to 

1 See appended note at the end of the chapter, p. 228, on Hermas, 
the Didache, etc. 

* See Belie/ in God, pp. 207 ff. 


puzzle and bewilder them. For the Hellenistic world 
of the Roman Empire was in a state of intellectual 
ferment. It was not a day of great philosophers, 
but it was a day when intellectual interest was keen. 
Men were widely seeking some doctrine of the 
" whence " and the " whither " some doctrine of 
how the world which seems so evil was made and is 
governed and how the hapless soul of man is to 
escape from the changes and chances of this mortal 
life into some region of calm and security and 
immortality. And the cities were full of teachers 
and lecturers who had each of them a " gnosis," 
a " knowledge " or theory of his own, which was 
either divulged to all who would come and listen, 
or reserved as a secret for the initiates into this or 
that " mystery-cult." Christianity spread rapidly 
because of its moral attractiveness, and especially 
probably because of its practical spirit of brother- 
hood. And there were multitudes of " gnostics " 
who were ready enough to adopt the Christian ideas 
and sacred names, and adjust them to their cosmic 
theories. So the Christian churches found them- 
selves in a bewildering world of speculation and 
of fusion between different systems and traditions, 
and they were forced to clear up their ideas and to 
know their own mind. Moreover, though Christianity 
had qualities which made it popular, it had others 
which rendered it profoundly unpopular. It was 
suspected of being a secret society, disloyal to the 
Emperor and the Empire. It was thus always 
subject to persecution, because it was supposed to 
encourage the dangerous elements in society. And 
the darkest stories were told about its nocturnal 
gatherings and secret orgies. So, not only was it 
driven by its inner necessities to obtain a clear 
account of its own doctrine, it was also driven to 
explain itself to those outside, and to seek to remove 
the suspicions of the authorities. This is the origin 


of the " Apologies," and it is the apologists of the 
second century who made the first attempt to present, 
in terms acceptable and intelligible to the outside 
world, an explanation of Christianity as a doctrine 
and as a way of life. 

Of these apologists let us take Justin Martyr as 
an example. He had found his way to Christianity 
through disappointment with the various philo- 
sophies. But he retained his philosopher's dress, 
and would still present the doctrine in which he had 
found satisfaction so as to be intelligible and accept- 
able in the world that he had left. He made great 
play with the Logos-doctrine, that is the doctrine 
of the divine reason and energy immanent in the 
universe, which, as we have seen, was the popular 
idea of the day, and one which Christianity could 
use in its own sense. But he is not by any means 
a sure-footed theologian, and he falls into modes 
of expression which he had much better not have 
used, and which the Church after him had to re- 
pudiate as when he talked of the Word or Son of 
God as a "second God." 1 So it was with the pious 
but somewhat stupid prophet Hernias, of Rome. 
He too means well and gives fervent exhortations 
to his fellow Christians through the medium of his 
visions. But again he is not at all a clear thinker, 
and his phraseology is loose. But all the while the 
Christian churches in the different cities were closely 
knit together and intensely conscious of unity. 
Thus as we survey the early period we seem to see 
the Church as a whole standing before the world, 
with grand moral steadfastness and an intense sense 
of practical security in its tradition of religious 
belief and practice, but subjected to an intellectual 
cross-questioning of a very puzzling kind. Will you 
admit this ? Do you believe that ? Will you 
accept this suggestion ? Will you accommodate 

1 See below, p. 242. 


yourself to that popular theory ? And the Church 
made many mistakes in its haste, and corrected 
them somewhat painfully at its leisure. Only 
gradually and hardly did it fashion its terminology, 
chiefly by the help of certain men who relatively 
deserve the title of great men : Irenaeus, 1 whose 
intellectual perceptions were very sure ; Tertullian, 
the African, who was much more brilliant and also 
much more rhetorical and one-sided ; and Origen 
of Alexandria, who, in spite of certain very precarious 
speculations and excursions into the unknowable, 
was the greatest of all. 

Now it is obvious that this process cannot be 
described in detail in one chapter in a small volume. 
I propose to make only one or two general observa- 
tions before we approach the age when the Church, 
in formal councils, gave certain dogmatic definitions 
of its doctrine of the person of Christ, to which we 
must pay more precise attention. 

The chief intellectual difficulties of the Church 
were (1) with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity 
that is especially the relation of the Son, conceived 
of as an eternal and divine person, to God the Father 
and to the Holy Spirit. It was in this region that 
it found the greatest difficulty in fixing its termin- 

1 See on Irenaeus Belief in God, p. 47. Dr. Rashdall has 
strangely accused him of what later was called Apollinarianism 
(see Jesus Human and Divine, p. 13). But Irenaeus gives us an 
account of our Lord's temptations, according to which the divine 
Word left the man or the manhood in Jesus to struggle and suffer 
unaided in those dark hours, ucrirep yap i\v avOpwiros, 'iva. vetpdcBr], 
ovrws xal \6yos 'iva. 5oa<r07J' i]<rw%a.ovTOS /j.fv rov \6yov fv r<f> ireipae<r0cu, 
etc. (iii 19, 3). The phraseology may be easily criticized. But it 
certainly quite clearly means that Irenaeus thought of Christ as 
having a properly human mind and will in which to be tempted 
and struggle. Again, he says : " He struggled and overcame : He 
was man fighting for His fathers, and by His obedience paying the 
debt of their disobedience. ..." And in order to fight the human 
fight fully " He passed through every age, from infancy to man- 
hood, restoring to each communion with God " (iii 18, 6, 7). He 
was what He seemed really man (ii 22). See my Dissertations, 
pp. 108 ff. I cannot think what caused Dr. Rashdall to make such 
a statement. 


ology : (2) in maintaining its hold on the real 
humanity of Christ. The Hellenistic world was 
still possessed with the sense that the source of 
spiritual contamination for souls lay in the body 
and the material world, and that the redemption 
of the soul lay in its exemption from matter. And 
Following on this conception of matter as evil was 
a horror of the idea of any real incarnation of God. 
The Church could not remain uninfluenced by this 
tendency. Thus we have a whole series of attempts 
Docetism and all the varieties of Gnosticism to 
explain away the reality of Christ's physical man- 
hood ; and all such attempts appear to have met 
with a great deal of sympathy and success. Ter- 
tullian, looking back on the history of Gnosticism 
at the beginning of the third century, can speak 
of the dismal experience which the Church had 
passed through of seeing " one and another, the 
most faithful, the wisest, the most experienced in 
the Church, going over to the wrong side." 1 Mean- 
while there was comparatively little difficulty in 
maintaining the originally divine nature or deity 
of Christ. The popular instinct was all on this side. 
The ablest opponent of this fundamental article 
of faith was a brilliant but morally disagreeable 
man> Paul, the bishop of Samosata, the favourite 
and courtier of Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra. 
His doctrine is broadly the same as one we are 
made familiar with to-day that the person Jesus 
did not exist till He was born of Mary ; that the 
divine Word or Wisdom (conceived of as a quality 
or aspect of God and not as a person) dwelt in him 
as it dwells in other men, but in a unique degree, 
so as gradually to deify him, till from having been 
a man he became God. The support which Zenobia 
gave her favourite made it very difficult for the 
local episcopate to secure his deposition. But as 

1 de praescr. 3; 


soon as Zenobia was defeated by the Emperor 
Aurelian his strength was gone. It would seem 
that he had no popular support in the Church, 
though he became indirectly the parent of an in- 
tellectual school of which Arianism was the fruit. 

This very rough sketch must suffice to bring us 
to the period of the Councils. The reason why we 
must consider their dogmatic definitions is not because 
they represent the action of ecclesiastical authority, 
for with that at present we are not concerned, but 
because, viewed historically, the teaching about the 
person of Christ which we get in the New Testament, 
and which we find from the first as the tradition 
of the Church, seems here to reach its intellectual 
expression, or at least its technical formulation. 
That at least was the claim made for these formulas 
that they represented no new doctrine and no 
addition to the doctrine of the Bible and the tradition 
of the Church, but were simply its expression in an 
articulate form with a view to defending it against 
the invasion of proposed interpretations of Christ 
which would have fundamentally destroyed the 
Church tradition in its real meaning. The question 
for us is whether this is really so, or whether, on the 
other hand, the definitions are encumbrances which 
the faith of the New Testament would have done 
better to dispense with, or which, even if they were 
once necessary, are now certainly to be regarded as 
antiquated expressions of the faith in terms of a 
philosophy which has been long outgrown, and for 
which we can surely find better substitutes in the 
language of modern thought, retaining the ancient 
formulas only as historical records. This is a very 
insistent question to-day ; and though we are not 
yet in a position to pay regard to the question of 
ecclesiastical authority, we can discuss these formulas 
very profitably on their merits. 



The first occasion for an ecclesiastical dogma was 
found in the heresy of Arius. He was a clever and 
influential parish priest of Alexandria who was one 
of the numerous pupils of a famous teacher, Lucian 
of Antioch, a martyr in the Diocletian persecution 
(about 311), and also the parent of an Antiochene 
school of teachers, some of whom it is fair to call 
rationalists. Arius' theory of the person of our Lord 
was a complex one, 1 but it is mainly with one startling 
feature in it that the Church concerned itself. He 
affirmed that Christ was indeed the incarnation of 
a pre-existent being, the Word or Son, who was 
tc divine " in a popular sense and could be called 
God and worshipped, but who was not really of the 
nature of God the Creator. He was a creature who 
had a beginning from the divine will, and was the 
created medium through whom God made other 
creatures. Arius, like the rest of the Church, held 
fast to the old doctrine of God the Creator derived 
from the prophets of Israel. He was not a pantheist. 
He recognized that there can be no confusion between 
the Creator and the creature. Christ in His original 
nature must be either one or the other. He must 
come from one side or other of the line which sepa- 
rates the creative nature from the created. And 
he quite definitely put Christ on the side of the 
creatures. He was not of the nature of God, but He 
came into existence by His will. Thus to account 
for His exalted and quasi-divine character and posi- 
tion, he would have had the Church regard Him 
as something like a demigod or created God in His 
first being, and as a divinized hero in the human 

1 It is carefully described by Harnack, Hist, of Dogma (Eng. 
trans.), vol. iv, cap. i, and by Robertson in his admirable Intro- 
duction to the translation of Athanasius in Nicene and Post Nicene 
Fathers (Parkers, Oxford, 1892). 


guise which he afterwards assumed. He seems to 
have been a thorough intellectualist in love with 
his own theory, and to have thrown himself zealously 
and successfully into the task of propagating it. 
Doubtless he saw in it a bridge by which the non- 
Christian intellectual world could be persuaded to 
accept Christ and worship Christ without abandoning 
its own familiar categories. 

This is what the Church saw from another point 
of view that Arianism w r as a bold attempt to assi- 
milate within the Christian Church the pagan idea 
of a demigod. Arius' first opponent was his bishop, 
Alexander ; and it was the commotion stirred by 
Alexander's resistance to Arius which alarmed the 
Emperor Constantine persuaded that this was merely 
a question of words, and anxious above all things to 
promote the peace of the Church in which he had 
recently learned to see the hope of the empire. This 
led him to try the expedient of summoning a General 
Council, which should represent the bishops of all 
the Christian churches of the empire, to settle the 
matter. The Council met in 325 in Nicaea and 
condemned Arius almost unanimously, and, as an ex- 
pedient to make the condemnation effective, modified 
an existing baptismal creed, especially by intro- 
ducing into it the word Homoousios, " of one sub- 
stance with the Father " ; w r hich henceforth became 
the test word of orthodoxy, being selected, we ob- 
serve, because of its exclusive power, because though 
Arians would accept a word which sounded very 
like it Homoiousiqs (of like substance with the 
Father) they simply could not say that Father and 
Son were of the same substance or reality. 

This choice of a word and that a w r ord not found 
in Scripture to exclude from the Christian Church a 
group of men believed to be in error, but in a highly 
metaphysical region, when the word which they were 
prepared to accept differed from the word selected 


only in a single letter, is a proceeding naturally 
repulsive to moderate men at all times, and especially 
to the modern Englishman. Nevertheless, we must 
confess that it was necessary. To tolerate the 
Arians was to tolerate both the pagan conception 
of a created God or demigod, and also the conception 
of a deified hero : that is to say, the Church, in 
, tolerating them, would have turned its back on the 
foundation of its religion its belief inherited from 
the prophets of Israel that there was only one God, 
and there could be none other than He, and that 
none but He might be adored as God. It is only to 
say the same thing in other words to say that, if 
the Christian Church had not been in fundamental 
error for nearly three hundred years in worshipping 
Jesus the Christ as its Lord and calling Him God, 
that must be because He came originally from the 
other side of that unfathomable gulf which divides 
the self-existent God the Creator from all His crea- 
tures, even the highest because He belongs to the 
only eternal reality, the being of God. The long- 
persecuted Church was just being called to assume 
the role of the established religion of the empire. It 
was about to enter upon the tremendous charge of 
guiding the half-converted tribes who were beginning 
to pour over it and were destined so soon to over- 
whelm it. It is very easy to see that if it had 
consented, however reluctantly, to tolerate what 
Arianism asked it to tolerate, polytheism, both philo- 
sophical and popular, both civilized and barbarous, 
would have effected its lodgment securely within 
the Church. The Church did not, in fact, keep its 
doctrine wholly free from deleterious matter derived 
from paganism. Far from it. But if it had done 
what the Arians asked of it, its belief in one only 
God, one only object of worship, would have been 
submerged in the flood of pagan polytheism. 

I will venture to quote once more the remarkable 


acknowledgment on the part of Thomas Carlyle 
which Froude relates J : " He made one remark 
which is worth recording. In earlier years he had 
spoken contemptuously of the Athanasian contro- 
versy of the Christian world torn in pieces over a 
diphthong ; and he would ring the changes in broad 
Annandale on the Homoousion and the Homoi- 
ousion. He now told me that he perceived Chris- 
tianity itself to have been at stake. If the Arians had 
won, it would have dwindled away to a legend." 

The speedily won decision of the Council of Nicaea 
proved to be a surprise rather than a victory. Owing 
to a variety of political and other causes, for more 
than fifty years of bewildering controversy, the fate 
of its momentous decision hung in the balance. So 
far as the controversy was really theological at all, 
it was a struggle of religious faith holding on to a 
tradition and a revelation, against an ingenious in- 
tellectual theory, supported by a closely knit coterie 
of scholars of the school of Lucian, and aided by a 
mass of mere conservatism which was only reluctant 
to accept the new word Homoousion. Athanasius, 
who was the champion of orthodoxy from the time 
of the Council, when he was still a deacon, till the day 
of his death, makes the real nature of the struggle 
constantly evident. In his first writings, when he 
was a very young man, he had shown himself fas- 
cinated by the current philosophy of the Logos 
the divinity immanent in the world and had inter- 
preted the Incarnation in the light of it. 2 But 

1 Carlyle's Life in London, li 462. See also the similar judgment 
in Harnack, Hist, of Dogma, iv 43 : "Had the Arian doctrine ' 
gained the victory, it would in all probability have completely 
ruined Christianity," etc. 

1 Dr. Rashdall, in Jesus Human and Divine (Melrose, 1922), p. 14, 
reproduces an earlier paper in which, with astonishing emphasis, 
he accused Athanasius (like Irenaeus, see above, p. 201) of being 
Apollinarian : "It cannot be too strongly asserted that Athanasiua 
was an Apollinarian." In a note to the republished paper, in con- 
sequence of protests, he modifies his statement thus : "In his 


through all the long years of conflict his philosophical 
interests are almost wholly swallowed up in his 
passionate but also deliberate and rational zeal for 
Christianity as a religion resting on a person who 
can be wholly believed in and worshipped as the 
Redeemer because He is really God as well as man l 
a religion, moreover, which is essentially the same 
religion as had its beginnings in the Old Testament, 
the religion of the one God, who is not less truly one 
because He has come nearer to us in His incarnate 
Son, and we have recognized a distinction as of 
persons in the one divine being. Athanasius argues 
elaborately and persistently, but never as a philo- 
sopher contending for his theory, always as one 
put in charge of a revelation and a tradition, always 
with his eye fixed upon the strictly religious interests 
and loyalties. It is a great mistake to speak as if 

earlier days." What should we think of aii historian of to-day 
who should speak of Mr. Gladstone in retrospect as " a strenuous 
Tory," or of a distinguished bishop, still alive, as " a pugnacious 
High Churchman," and then explain that he was referring to his 
hot youth ? Dr. Rashdall then says that in the Orations there is 
" no trace of any distinct recognition of a human soul in Jesus," 
and that his later distinct repudiations of Apollinarianism were 
" formal " and " that it may be doubted how far this admission 
really affected his general way of thinking." 

The truth behind all this is that the circumstances of current 
controversy and the tone of the Alexandrian atmosphere both alike 
tended towards a one-sided emphasis on the Godhead of Christ, as 
compared with the manhood. But Athanasius was on his guard. 
I have quoted in my Dissertations, pp. 122-6, many passages 
from the Orations dealing with our Lord's assertion that He did not 
kitow (Mark xiii 32) and similar texts. Athanasius' explanation 
of the texts may be regarded as more or as less satisfactory. But, 
at any rate, they make it quite evident that he recognized in our 
Lord's manhood, or " flesh," a human mind which must be in 
itself limited and susceptible of progress and liable to ignorance. 
This is plain through the whole course of his controversial life, as 
well as in his later utterances when Apollinarianism was specifically 
in question. No doubt Athanasius was always reluctant to give 
up old friends on account of their excesses, whether Apollinarins 
or Marcellus. But he was himself precisely not Apollinarian. 

1 Harnack and Robertson give us excellent accounts of 
Athanasius' doctrine, and Dr. Bright (Church of the Fathers) is 
ncomparable in his vivid estimate of Athanasius as a person. 


the outlook of the Church in the matter was mainly 
philosophical. All that the Church did was to choose 
the best available term to express the truth that 
Christ was God, and that there could not be any 
being conceived of or worshipped as God except 
the one God without abandoning the foundation of 
the revelation on which the Church rested. Certainly 
Athanasius against Arius stands for permanent and 
practical religion against an intellectual theory which 
in fact turned out to be a very transitory phase of 
philosophy indeed. 


But before the death of Athanasius the balance of 
interest had shifted from one aspect of the person 
of the Redeemer to the other from His Godhead , 
to His manhood. A hundred years earlier Origen 
had prefaced his most speculative book on The 
Principles of Things by pointing out that there was 
a Christian tradition which it was the first business 
of the Church to hand down, and that (among other 
necessary points) it proclaimed a Christ who was 
both eternally and permanently God and also, by 
His incarnation, really man. In the traditional 
religion of the mass of the Christian people it was in 
ancient days always rather the belief in His manhood 
that was in peril than that in His Godhead. But 
the Church's duty was always to be true to the double 
idea or double fact and, in spite of one-sided ten- 
dencies, it fulfilled this duty. This is illustrated by 
the history of the Councils. One of the most zealous 
of the Athanasians and one of the ablest, Apollinarius 
of Laodicea, in his zeal to maintain the moral per- 
fection and immutability of Christ, embraced the 
notion that in Christ the divine reason and will took 
the place of the changeable human will and fallible 
human reason. So that the manhood of Christ 


which He took at the Incarnation was not a full and 
complete manhood, but a manifestation of the divine 
reason veiling itself and expressing itself in a human 
flesh and animal soul, or principle of life. 1 This 
idea, which ought indeed to startle anyone who has 
read the Gospels, including the account of the tempta- 
tion and of the agony in Gethsemane, Apollinarius 
made more plausible apparently by the idea that in 
the divine Word lies the eternal archetype of all 
created things, 2 and in particular of human nature, 
which was made in the image of God so that the 
eternal Word can even be spoken of as the archetypal 
or eternal man, and we may suppose that He was 
always destined to act as man in a human body. 
But there is a good deal of uncertainty about the date 
and the nature of this refinement. 

It must be confessed that zeal for the full meaning 
of the manhood of Christ was not a very conspicuous 
characteristic of Greek theologians. Nevertheless, 
when thus challenged by Apollinarius the Church 
was true to itself. The Council of Constantinople 
the history of which is very obscure in many respects 
certainly followed the lead of an earlier Council 
at Alexandria and condemned the Apollinarians, but 
without any special definition. When the Council 
was later reckoned for ecumenical, this 3 was what 
it was chiefly credited with that it had affirmed 
that the Church must proclaim a Christ who was not 
only truly God but also perfectly and completely 
man, with all the complement of properly human 
faculties, spiritual as well as physical. Once again 

1 He adopted the psychological theory which would describe 
man as made up of body, soul, and spirit. 

* The Fathers mostly read John i 3, 4 as " Without him [the 
Word] was not anything made. That which hath been made was 
[eternally] life in him." 

3 As also that it gave completed expression to the doctrine of the 
Trinity by bringing the Holy Spirit as well as the Son under the 
term Homoou-sios. 


the Church had behaved, not as a group of philo- 
sophers or psychologists seeking to frame a satis- 
fying theory of Christ's person, but as the trustees 
for a religion rooted in historical facts, bound to 
the full reality of Christ the man. 

To-day it is not necessary to argue the case against 
Apollinarius. All our modern Lives of Christ, and 
books about Christ, give the fullest interpretation 
to His manhood and call attention to the over- 
whelming evidence which the Gospels give us of the 
human spirit reason and will and feeling in Jesus. 
Present-day enthusiasm is all for the full manhood. 
The question with us is only whether this reality of j 
His manhood is consistent with personal Godhead. 
In ancient days, however, Apollinarius and His 
followers found much more popular sympathy than 
those who were accused of denying the personal 
Godhead of Christ. 


Then once more the balance shifts. There was a 
school of theologians, already alluded to, who had 
their centre at Antioch and did honour to Lucian 
as their master, amongst whom the most famous 
names were those of Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore 
of Mopsuestia. They were scholars with w r hom 
modern Englishmen would have natural sympathy. 
Their zeal was for a critical and historical interpre- 
tation of the sacred books, and for the reality of 
the manhood of Christ. In strenuous opposition 
to the tendencies of Alexandria, and especially of 
Apollinarius, they emphasized the freedom of Christ's 
; human will and the reality of His human growth 
: and human limitations in mind as well as body, 
! even to the point of postulating for Him, as it seemed, 
an independent human personality, at any rate to 
start with. The " connection " between the divine 


Word or Son and the human person of Jesus, the 
adopted Son, was, in their estimation, so close as 
to involve actual identification of the man Jesus 
with the Son of God. But this was apparently 
a gradual process and was the reward of a con- 
tinually fuller moral perfection. Fundamentally and 
originally the man Jesus was a separate person from 
the eternal Son. 

One of the disciples of this school, Nestorius, 
a fiery and pugnacious character, became Bishop 
of Constantinople in A.D. 428. His " chaplain," 
Anastasius, took an early opportunity vehemently 
to repudiate the term theotokos which it was cus- 
tomary to apply to the Blessed Virgin Mary, signi- 
fying precisely that her infant Son was personally 
God. " Let no one," he cried, " call Mary Theotokos ; 
for Mary was but a woman ; and it is impossible that 
God should be born of a woman." Nestorius threw 
himself into the defence of the Antiochene doctrine in 
special antagonism to the influences from Alexandria, 
where the great Cyril was archbishop. In particular, 
he was said to have committed himself to the assertion 
that " the child of two or three months old I cannot 
call God." At once a tumult arose in the Church, 
and controversy was fierce. Few things in the 
history of the Church have probably harmed it more 
than the bitterness and uncharitableness of its con- 
troversialists. Nestorius was bitter. But what has 
mostly harmed the Church was the bitterness of its 
protagonist Cyril. And there is no question that the 
theology he poured forth was distinctly one-sided 
and ill calculated to satisfy the reasonable scruples 
of the Antiochenes. But with these matters we are 
not here concerned. Nor are we really concerned 
with the question whether, after all, Nestorius ulti- 
mately meant to deny what the Church was at pains 
to affirm. There is now ground for believing that, 
had he lived a few years longer, he might have been 


satisfied to accept the decision of the Council of 
Chalcedon in 451, in which he could have recognized 
the safeguarding of what he valued. 1 

But the obscurity of many of the details of the 
controversy, and the painfully uncharitable tone of 
it, which leaves a most disagreeable impression on 
our minds, cannot be allowed to obscure the real 
importance of the issue. The Creed of Nicaea 
affirmed that it was the eternal Son of God, Himself 
very God, who for us men and for our salvation had 
come down and taken flesh of Mary and been born 
and suffered for us. And long before Nicaea that 
was the passionate faith of the Church. It was 
really God, the eternal Son, who was born of Mary, 
and who lived and died under conditions of a real 
humanity. And this continuity of personality was 
the very thing which Nestor ius seemed to deny. 
Thus once more a Council, reckoned as ecumenical, 
was held at Ephesus in 431, and Nestorius was 
violently condemned and the title Theotokos, as 
applied to the mother of Jesus that is, strictly, 
" the bearer of God " was made obligatory for 
acceptance by the officers and teachers of the Church. 
And I do not think it can be doubted that here again 
the Church, in refusing to admit that Jesus was a 
separate person from the Son of God, and affirming, 
on the contrary, that it was the same person the 
Word or Son who was eternally in the being of 
God and through whom all things were made, who 
was born as a baby of Mary and lived and died upon 
the Cross in affirming this and denying its contrary 
the Church was certainly only reaffirming the doctrine 
of St. Paul and St. John and the Epistle to the 

1 On the subtle and difficult question what Diodore, Theodore, 
and Nestorius actually and precisely meant to affirm and deny, 
I would refer to the very just summary, as it seems to me, given by 
Dr. Kiclcl in his just published History of the Church, vol. iii, chaps. 
xi and xii. 


The spiritual importance of the question at issue 
may be made more apparent by four considerations. 

(1) The sum and substance of Christian redemp- 
tion lies in the real union of Christians with Jesus, 
the man who lived and worked and suffered on 
earth and now reigns in heaven. And the point is 
that in being made one with Him baptized into 
Him and receiving into ourselves His very life, His 
flesh and blood we are really made one, not with 
any created or intermediate person, but with God 
Himself. And it is only because He is verily and 
personally God that His manhood can have imparted 
to it this capacity for universal participation and 
assimilation. St. Cyril is always recurring to this 

(2) Christians from the beginning, and notably 
St. Paul, have insisted upon the pre-eminence and 
uniqueness of the self-sacrifice of Christ. Now r , 
judged by an objective standard, the measure of 
Christ's self-sacrifice within the limits of His mortal 
life cannot be said to be greater, at any rate, than 
that of multitudes of martyrs. But it is not within 
these limits that the uniqueness of Christ's self- 
sacrifice is found. It lies in the region of His pre- 
existent life. It consists in this, that one who 
existed in the glory of God consented to abandon 
this to us inconceivable glory of life, in order to 
accept the conditions and limitations and sufferings 
of real manhood. This act of self -sacrifice is strictly 
unique, and it is so only because the person who 
sacrifices Himself is very God not closely united to 
God but personally God. His acts are strictly God's 
acts and His love God's love. 

(3) Herein lies also the clue to the finality of the 
Christ. Intellectually considered, nothing is more 
essential to a full faith in Christ than this recognition 
of His essential finality to which we shall have to 
recur later on. This means that He is not only the 


greatest prophet and the most conspicuous saint 
and the noblest leader of humanity who has ever 
lived ; for if that were all, obviously we could 
" look for another " as great as He, possibly greater 
than He. And if Jesus be, as at the last analysis 
Nestorianism always asserts, a human person, one 
among millions of human persons, whom the divine 
Word united to Himself and even (finally) absorbed 
into Himself, there is no reason in the nature of 
things why the process should not be repeated. It 
is, in fact, only the highest example of what occurs 
in its measure in every good man. There may be 
another Christ, even conceivably a higher and more 
enlightened one. There is no real ground for 
asserting the finality of the Christ, unless He be 
personally God in manhood. Then, and then only, 
must He be essentially and necessarily final. For 
there can be no disclosure of God in manhood or 
of manhood in God even conceivable which should 
be completer or fuller (at least under the conditions 
of this world) than is given us in Him who is the 
Word made flesh. Nor in the nature of things can 
there be another such. There can be no other such 
person as the only-begotten Son of God. 

(4) This, too, is important the " Nestorian " 
conception is exceedingly difficult to grasp with 
precision. It is deeply evasive intellectually con- 
sidered, and appears to pass from one form to another. 
But the Creed of the Church is a creed for common 
men, and must be able to express itself, in those 
points for which it claims popular acceptance, in 
broad affirmations broad as well as true. The 
orthodox creed that for us men and for our salva- 
tion very God, the Son of God, consented to come 
down from the bosom of the Father to become man 
and for us to die has this broad intelligibility. 

But freed from refinements and reduced to a like 
broad intelligibility, it is impossible to doubt that 
the teaching^ of Nestorius would have inevitably 


taken shape in the proclamation of Jesus as the 
deified man, 1 which from every point of view would 
have been a disaster. 

Once more, and for the last time, the balance 
shifts. It is now an old Constantinopolitan monk 
called Eutyches, , who affirmed that though God- 
head and manhood w r ere separate before the Incar- 
nation, yet in Jesus the manhood was in some 
sense absorbed and swallowed up in the Godhead. 
There was a widespread tendency towards this sort 
of " monophysitism "this doctrine of the absorp- 
tion of the manhood in the Godhead and the 
Eastern Church might easily have overbalanced on 
that side. But the West, in the person of the great 
Leo, Bishop of Rome, put its weight on the other 
side, and at Chalcedon, in 451, the last of the great 
definitions was made which affirmed that the man- 
hood remained in Christ, not only complete, but 
permanently unconfused that as Christ was con- 
substantial with God according to His Godhead, so 
He became and remained consubstantial with us 
according to His manhood. So the doctrine was 
fixed that in Christ incarnate there is one person 
and that divine, but two natures, divine and human, 
the one original and the other voluntarily assumed 
by incarnation but permanent and distinct. This 
the Chalcedonian may be considered in principle 
the final definition of the Church. If a century later 
the Church had occasion to affirm that in Christ was 
the reality of a human will, and the whole rational 
activity of manhood, that was only a reaffirmation 

1 If Nestorianism among Syrians and Assyrians has not taken 
any such shape it is, I think, because their so-called Nestorianism 
is really not Nestorianism at all, but in part simply a difficulty of 
language and in part loyalty to a persecuted leader. 


important enough in itself of what was really 
secured in principle by the definitions which excluded 
Apollinarianism and Eutychianism. 


We need pursue the history of ecclesiastical dogma 
no further. In this volume we are in no way con- 
cerned with any question of the authority which 
these decrees have as dogmas of the Church. The 
whole idea of Church authority will be ignored till 
we reach the subject of the Church in the next 
volume. At present we are simply taking these 
decrees as important facts in the historical develop- 
ment of the doctrine of the person of Christ. And 
we cannot fail to be conscious that they have at 
different periods, and especially to-day, been the 
subject of widespread criticism in intellectual circles, 
often violently and contemptuously expressed, 
especially at their culminating point in the formula 
of Chalcedon which demands our acceptance of the 
conception of Christ as throughout, from eternity to 
eternity, one and the same divine person, who 
nevertheless, as incarnate and made man, subsists 
in two distinct natures, divine and human. Now, 
(1) the " nature " includes the will and the conscious- 
ness ; and we are here (the critics tell us) postulating 
in the human Christ two wills and consciousnesses, 
lying (so to speak) side by side in the same person 
a very impossible conception whereas in the Gospels 
what we are witnesses of is one person, Jesus the 
Christ, with one will and consciousness, the con- 
sciousness and will of a Son, in presence of another 
will and consciousness, that of His Father who is 
in heaven ; and there is no suggestion of a dualism 
of wills or consciousnesses in His own person. 

(2) The identity of the divine personality through- 
out seems to involve the idea of Christ's manhood 


as " impersonal." So the theologians have con- 
stantly called it. But it is a wholly unacceptable 
idea. It is precisely in Jesus, " the Son of Man," 
that we seem to see all the characteristics of human 
personality at their highest. 

Now it must be acknowledged that these are 
very important criticisms which, as we hear them, 
strike home with a powerful sense of truth. And 
there is another^ of a different kind which urges 
that the Councils* were in their definitions, by the 
use of such words as " substance," " person," 
" nature," tying the Christian religion to a tem- 
porary phase of philosophy which is past and gone, 
and from which it had better now shake itself 

I would seek to give these criticisms, what they 
clearly deserve, the most candid consideration, 
which shall be quite free, that is, shall at present 
quite ignore the questions of the ecclesiastical 
authority claimed for these decisions. 

1. The only true and historical way of regard- 
ing these dogmatic decisions is to regard them as 
primarily negative. Their motive was not any 
1 positively felt need of interpreting or defining the 
faith as a thing good in itself, but simply the 
pressing necessity for excluding certain very power- 
fully supported intellectual theories which were 
at work and which were calculated to undermine 
the traditions of faith worship and practice which 
the Church was set to maintain what it called 
" the tradition." It must be admitted that the 
love of intellectual definition for its own sake took 
possession to a dangerous extent of the Church 
both in East and West. But these " intellectual 
exercises " have not crystallized as disciplinary 
decrees. It is important to notice that Athanasius, 
and the Fathers generally, take a very restricted 
view of the legitimate functions of the Church with 


regard to Christian doctrine. Athanasius contrasts 
it with its functions in respect of discipline. In this 
latter region it claims to issue directions on its own 
authority. Thus the Council of Nicaea with regard 
to the Easter festival said simply that " it seemed 
good (e'Sofe) " to the bishops to give such and such 
directions. But with regard to doctrine it is much 
more modest. " With reference to the faith they 
wrote not ' such and such things were determined,' 
but 4 thus the Catholic Church believes.' And they 
added immediately the statement of their faith, 
to show that their judgment was not new but 
apostolic, and that what they wrote was not any 
discovery of theirs, but was what the apostles 
taught." x And, as a matter of fact, St. Athanasius 
in his almost endless argumentations hardly ever 
refers to the decision of the Council, but prefers to 
conduct all his argument in the region of scripture 
and the necessities of practical religion and reason. 
And in this he is not singular. It is so with almost 
all the Fathers. A dogmatic decision was for them 
certainly a regrettable necessity, only justifiable 
under extreme need. 

2. But I think that, for reasons already given, 
we are bound to admit that in the case of each of 
the four great councils the decision at which it 
arrived to exclude certain lines of teaching or pro- 
posed explanations of the person of Christ was a 
necessary decision really necessary if the faith of 
the New Testament was to be maintained. As I 
have said, to admit as tolerable the Arian explanation 
of Christ as in effect a demi-god, and thus to re- 
pudiate the whole basis of strict monotheism, which 
inspires both Old and New Testaments, would have 
ruined Christianity, by assimilating it to insurgent 
Paganism. It was just as necessary, if the faith 
of St. Paul and St. John was to be maintained, 

1 De Synodis, c. 5. 


decisively to exclude any teaching which funda- 
mentally distinguished the person of Jesus from the 
person of the Son of God, and thereby converted 
"incarnation" into " indwelling," and substantially 
assimilated Christ to prophets and saints. In the 
other direction it was certainly as necessary to ex- 
clude the ideas which w r ould have rendered Christ's 
manhood fundamentally unreal, especially in respect 
of just those regions of mind and will and spirit in 
which man is distinctively man. It was, in fact, 
in view T of the ecclesiastical tendencies of the day, 
a miracle of grace that the Church took so firm a 
stand against Apollinarius and the Monophysites, 
though it is precisely this that involved it in the 
postulate of the two natures to which we shall return 
directly. I see no reason to doubt that if St. Paul 
and St. John could have had the situation explained 
to them, they would have accepted the necessity 
for the definitions. 

3. Though, as I have said, we constantly read 
highly critical and even contemptuous estimates of 
the terminology of the Councils, I do not see that 
they could have found at the time better words in 
which to embody their decisions, nor have I ever 
seen any better modern terms suggested. In fact 
the critics do not generally suggest that the work 
was badly done for its time, but they suggest that 
the Councils used (as they were bound to use) the 
philosophical categories and terms of their day, and 
that these categories and terms have been outgrown. 

But it is very necessary to protest that the Church 
was not professing to act philosophically. It chose 
the term " of one substance " to exclude the idea 
that Christ was not really God and then to e::clude 
the idea that He was not really man. As the Church 
used the term it was acting with practical statesman- 
ship and discrimination, rather than with philo- 
sophical accuracy : for it is plain that " unity of 


substance" is used in rather different senses when 
it is applied to describe (1) the relation of Christ to 
the Father and (2) His relation to His fellow men. 
Its aim was practical. So again it was practical 
necessity which led to its doing the world a great 
service that is, selecting an old word which hitherto 
had meant no more than " substance " (i.e. hypostasis) 
and stamping it with the distinctive meaning of 
" person," an idea for which hitherto Greek and 
Latin philosophy had had no term. Once more, 
if it was, as I think it was, essential that the Church 
should maintain that the Creator and His creatures 
God and man belong to kinds of reality which 
are essentially different, I do not see that it could 
have chosen a better word to use than " nature," 
when it affirmed in Christ's one person two 
" natures," the one original and the other acquired. 
I do not see then how the way in which the Church 
did its defensive or self -protective work, so far as 
the choice of its terminology is concerned, could 
have been bettered. Nor do I see how the 
terminology in question could be bettered to-day, 
so long as it is granted that the idea to be expressed 
is that of the incarnation in a real and full manhood 
of one who belonged to the eternal being of God, as 
a Son with His Father. On the contrary it has 
always appeared to me fairly evident that what 
the critics want is not better terms to express the 
same idea, but the substitution of a different idea 
either the substitution of what is fundamentally 
the pantheistic conception of God, according to 
which God and man are parts of the one substance, 
in place of the essentially different Biblical idea 
of God the Creator distinct from His creatures, 
or the substitution of the idea of a God-indwelt 
man for that of the incarnate God. 

Of course, I know that there is a philosophy which 
deprecates the whole idea of the existence of real 


objects or things having distinctive qualities or 
natures, created by God and in a measure really 
knowable by us, and of persons made in the image 
of God, and therefore having a different nature 
from mere things and animals, and of God as the 
only self-subsistent and self-complete being, the 
Creator of all that is. What this philosophy suggests 
to us as the ultimate reality is (to use Lord Balfour's 
language) " an identity wherein all differences 
vanish, or a unity which includes, but does not 
transcend, the differences which it somehow holds 
in solution." But this sort of philosophy is not 
the only Idealism. And it has to reckon with the 
sort of Realism which the common sense of man- 
kind as well as the theology of the Bible postulates. 
And granted the sort of Realism which believes in 
real objects having distinctive natures, and in real 
persons, and in a real God the Creator, I do not think 
the terminology of the councils can be easily bettered. 
4. But the best things can be most lamentably 
abused ; and it is manifest in history that the 
Greek genius, which exercised itself rightfully within 
the Christian Church in defining and protecting 
the fundamental faith of Christendom, became 
enamoured of its own intellectualism and to a 
lamentable extent distorted the true character and 
estimate of the Christian religion. For the Christian 
religion is a way of life " the way " was the first 
name for the Church. This " w r ay " involves and 
depends upon a certain self-disclosure of God and 
certain ideas about the destiny and capacity of man 
and his sin and need of redemption. Thus it requires 
a Creed, and it is idle to regret the necessity. It 
must perforce have formulated and defended the 
intellectual principles on which its way of life 
depends. But it ought always to have presented 
itself to mankind first of all as a way of life. While 
in fact, under the dominant influence of Greek 


intellectualism, the interest in the intellectual pro- 
positions and formulas became the foremost interest, 
and the Church presented itself to the world, not as 
a society called to live a life, but as a society main- 
taining a very elaborate system of doctrines, the 
propagation of which was its chief business. This 
is the impression we get in history of the later Greek 
Church, though the impression made by its mystics 
and saints must not be forgotten. And a similar 
intellectualism may be charged against the Western 
schoolmen, even though Erasmus and his friends 
did not by any means judge them fairly. 

Under such conditions the misuse made of the 
definitions of the Church is of this kind. They ought 
to have been regarded as simply warning men off 
certain misleading and one-sided lines of logical 
development, leaving them to get their positive 
picture of Christ from the Gospels, and their positive 
theory from the books of the New Testament. That, 
as we have seen, was the real intention of Athanasius 
and others of the Fathers. They talk very little 
about the definitions. All their argument good 
and bad is upon the ground of Scripture and 
occasionally of tradition, and of the meaning of the 
sacraments and the requirements of the spiritual 
life. But another tendency is also apparent and 
in effect prevails. The dogmatic decisions become 
premises to argue from, and Christ is represented 
not as He was, but as, it was thought, He must 
have been. Thus, because it is laid down that there 
are to be recognized in Christ the two distinct 
natures, divine and human, what it is not unfair 
to call a fancy picture of Christ is drawn, as acting 
now in one nature and now in another, now as God 
and now as man, which does not really correspond 
to the picture in the Gospel. Again, it comes to be 
argued that because He was God, therefore He must 
have been continuously omniscient, and such a plain 


statement as " Of that day and that hour knoweth 
no one, no, not the Son," is explained away to mean 
that He did not choose to reveal what He really 
knew. " The truth," as Theodoret grimly observed, 
" tells a lie." Later all that belongs to human 
limitations mental growth, anxiety, faith, hope, 
even prayer in the real sense is excluded from His 
consciousness as inconsistent with His Godhead. 
The intellectual dogmas, instead of serving their 
original and legitimate purpose, have become the 
premises from which conclusions are drawn as to 
what the Incarnate must have been, which practically 
obscure the picture in the Gospels. So we feel it 
to be with the later scholastic theologians. The 
reality of our Lord's humanity, so far as the life of 
His soul was concerned, becomes almost obliterated. 1 

Or again, because the dogmatic decision against 
Nestorius laid it down that there was one continuous 
personality and that divine, the phrase becomes 
current that the humanity of Christ was " im- 
personal," 2 whereas in the Gospels we feel that 
we have a picture of the Son of Man intensely in- 
dividual and unmistakably personal in His manhood. 

5. But the abuse of a thing does not prove that 
it has no use. The definitions of the Councils were 
no doubt misused, but we have seen reason to believe 
that they were necessary, and that the lines of 
thought which they were intended to exclude were 
really destructive of the foundations of the Christian 
faith. The best way to test their legitimacy is to 
inquire whether, accepting them as limits to our 
thinking, w r e are able to accept at its full value and 
fairly interpret the picture which the Gospels present 
to us of the Son of Man. As we have seen, it is not 
the picture of a mere man with a merely human 
consciousness or a merely prophetic claim. It cannot 

1 See on all this my Dissertations, pp. 154 ff. 

* I quite recognize the truth which the phrase is meant to convey 
(see below, p. 227). It is not used in the formula of Chalcedon. 


be so interpreted in any one of the Gospels. Only 
the incarnation doctrine of St. Paul and St. John 
can really interpret it. On the other hand, the 
divine person in the Gospels is certainly presented 
to us as growing in wisdom, as being tempted, as 
asking questions, apparently for information, as 
praying, as overwhelmed with anxiety, as asking 
upon the Cross the great question of the perplexed 
and dismayed all the world over, and finally, as, 
at least in one respect, asserting His ignorance. 
And, negatively, He never show r s any sign of tran- 
scending the knowledge of natural things possible 
to His age, country, and condition. How can these 
facts be reconciled with His personal Godhead ? 

I see no help in solving this question so great 
as is supplied by two phrases in which St. Paul 
characterizes the act of the Son of God in taking 
our manhood 1 "he beggared himself" (or "made 
himself poor"), and "he emptied himself" or 
" annulled himself." St. Paul, in using these words, 
is not thinking of any particular aspect of the human 
life of Jesus, such as the limitation of His know- 
ledge ; but he regards the Incarnation in itself as 
having involved in some sense the abandonment 
of " riches " which belonged to the previous divine 
state of the Son. It is when we look at the facts in 
the Gospel that we are led to welcome St. Paul's 
words as giving us the clue to what we see there. 
The divine Son in becoming man must, we conclude, 
have accepted, voluntarily and deliberately, the 
limitations involved in really living as man even 
as sinless and perfect man in feeling as a man, 
thinking as a man, striving as a man, being anxious 
and tried as a man. Jesus does not indeed appear 
in the Gospels as unconscious of His divine nature. 
He knows He is Son of the Father. He " remembers " 
how He came from God and would go back to God. 
But He appears none the less as accepting the 
1 2 Cor. viii 9, Phil, ii 7. 


limitations of manhood. And St. Paul, I say, gives 
us the hint which directs our vision. This was no 
failure of power. God is love, and love is sympathy 
and self-sacrifice. The Incarnation is the supreme 
act of self-sacrificing sympathy, by which one whose 
nature is divine was enabled to enter into human 
experience. He emptied Himself of divine preroga- 
tives so far as was involved in really becoming man, 
and growing, feeling, thinking and suffering as man. 

No doubt such a conception raises questions to 
which we can find no full answer. Thus Is the 
self-emptying to be conceived of as a continual 
refusal to exercise the free divine consciousness which 
He possessed, or as something once for all involved 
in the original act by which He entered into the 
limiting conditions of manhood ? And I think if 
we are wise we shall not attempt to answer the 
question. We have not the knowledge of the inner 
life of Jesus which would make an answer possible. 
Or again, we are asked how we relate this " limited " 
condition of the Son as incarnate with His exercise 
of all the cosmic functions of the eternal Word 
what the New Testament calls " the sustaining " or 
" bearing along of all things " or the holding all the 
universe of things together- and again I think 
we had better give no answer. All that appears 
evident is that it was the eternal Son who was 
manifested in human nature as Jesus of Nazareth, 
and that within the sphere and limit of His mortal 
life He appears as restricted by human conditions ; 
and we thankfully accept this supreme example of 
humility and self-sacrifice, without attempting to 
relate it to what lies outside our possibilities of 
knowledge. 1 We do well to be agnostics, if we put 
our agnosticism in the right place. 

1 I have endeavoured to enter at greater length into this question 
in Dissertations, ii, where I have also given full quotations from 
the Fathers. 


Now the recognition that the Incarnation involved 
this limitation in the exercise of divine faculties, 
within its sphere, is quite consistent with the terms 
of the ecclesiastical definitions. We are bound to 
recognize the nature of God and the nature of Man 
as both belonging throughout to the person of the 
Christ, and as in their essence distinct. Only that 
power of self-limitation and self-adaptation in God 
which we have already recognized as in a measure 
involved in creation, and especially in the creation 
of free spirits, 1 we should here, in Jesus Christ, 
recognize again as brought to bear with a fresh 
intensity to make the Incarnation really possible, 
spiritually as well as physically. Just as we believe 
that now in the heavenly places Christ is still truly 
man, but that the manhood is all radiant with God- 
head : so in His earthly state we should believe 
that Christ was really God and so knew Himself, 
but that Godhead was submitting itself to the 
limitations of manhood. As St. Cyril puts it : " He 
suffered the limits of humanity to prevail in His 
case." 2 

But we must surely repudiate that mode of speech 
which prevailed at the time of Chalcedon and later, 
whereby the life of Christ on earth was represented as 
containing two consciousnesses and two wills, so to 
speak, juxtaposited in distinction the one from the 
other, so that He thought and spoke and acted now 
as God and now as man. We should repudiate this, 
because we feel that the Gospels present us with 
one who is, and knows Himself to be, always and 
in all things the Son of God, but who is throughout 
existing, acting, and speaking under the conditions 
and limitations of manhood. 

Also we should deprecate the unguarded use of a 
phrase which became current among theologians 
we mean the phrase which describes Christ's man- 

1 See Belief in God, pp. 115-17. * Dissert., p. 146. 

HRDADV CT A* A nv'r rr\\ i 


hood as " impersonal." All that this really means 
is that the manhood had no separate personality. 
There was only one person the eternal Word 
who exists eternally in God, who was active in the 
whole universe, and who at last was incarnate in 
Jesus Christ. But when He took the manhood, 
complete in all human faculties and activities, He 
became to it the centre of personality. He made it 
personal. Thus ^the humanity of Jesus in the 
Gospels has nothing of abstract universality about 
it. It is no mere veil of the Godhead. It is, indeed, 
intensely individual. And if man, in distinction 
from all other creatures, was originally made in the 
divine image and likeness, we can understand how 
the divine person can become the ego or subject 
of the manhood in Jesus without its thereby ceasing 
to be human. 1 

I do not then think that the Chalcedonian formula, 
summarizing the decisions of the Councils, requires 
revision in itself ; but if we would justify it, we must 
recognize very frankly that the purpose of the dogmas 
was negative to exclude certain fundamentally 
misleading interpretations of the person of Christ 
and we must insist that for our positive conception 
of the person of Jesus we need constantly to study 
with unembarrassed eyes the picture in the Gospels 
and the doctrine of the Epistles. 

NOTE A, sec p. 198 

(1) " The Shepherd :> of Hermas. 

(2) The " Didache." 

(3) The " Odes of Solomon." 

(I) "The Shepherd" of Hermas. Undue attention 
has, I think, so far as his theology is concerned, been 
given to this interesting prophet of the early Roman 
Church. He is interesting as a prophet interesting on 

1 See further appended note B, p. 230. 


account of his visions, which he and others believed to 
be inspired, and on account of the enthusiasm which 
he threw into the message from God given him to 
deliver. His importance lies in the ethical region. He 
shows that the Church, or that part of the Church 
which accepted him as a prophet, still clearly viewed 
the Christian religion as " the way." Its main interest 
was moral. The theological background of Hernias' 
visions was not apparently scrutinized. If we do 
scrutinize it, it must be confessed that his theology is 
confused and confusing. He certainly believed in the 
incarnation of the Son of God, Who " was older than 
any creature," through whom all things were made and 
in whom they are sustained. He is thus certainly no 
Ebionite or humanitarian in his estimate of Christ. 
But he is very confusing in the language he uses about 
the Holy Spirit and holy spirits, and about the relation 
of the Son and the Spirit, whom he sometimes seems 
to identify, and he may be accused of " Apollinarian " 
language about the flesh of Christ. I think the best 
account of him is still Dorner's. But the fact is he was 
no theologian, and his careless language is such as 
must almost inevitably have occurred before the days 
when doctrine was formulated. 

(2) The teaching of the Twelve Apostles still appears to 
me to be a very early and very Judaic document which 
must represent some group of Christian communities 
quite outside the main streams of Christian influence, 
who must, moreover, have lost contact with the main 
streams early, and remained uninfluenced by the ideas 
of St. Paul and St. John. Its ethical teaching is not 
like that of St. James. It barely deserves to be called 
Christian. The document does not supply any clear 
indication of a doctrine of Christ's person. But it 
includes the direction to baptize " in the name of the 
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," which 
implies the doctrine of the Son as a divine person. 

(3) The " Odes of Solomon. 11 The beautiful mysticism 
of these odes, which Dr. Rendel Harris discovered and 
published some fourteen years ago (Cambridge Press), 
implies (see especially Ode 41) a quasi- Johannine 
doctrine of Christ (see p. 76). 



(4) As has been already remarked, the Ebionites, i.e. 
that obscure section of Judaistic Christians who definitely 
rejected the doctrine of Christ as a divine person 
incarnate, represent a later deterioration. They cannot 
be quoted as if they represented the belief of St. James : 
see Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 200 ; and B. I. 
Kidd, History of the Christian Church (Oxford, 1922), 
i, pp. 85-103. 

NOTE B, see p. 228 
The Term " Enhypostasia " 

We should be very grateful to Dr. H. M. Relton for 
his most suggestive and excellent Study in Christology, 
and to Dr. Headlam for his preface to that study. 
Dr. Relton has done good service in seeking to familiarize 
us with the term enhypostasia, to which Leontius of 
Byzantium sought to give currency, to express the idea 
that the manhood of Jesus found its personality in the 
personality of the Son of God. Leontius holds a very 
important place in the sixth century as resisting the 
current tendency to monophysitism, even inside the 
orthodox church. I have tried to bring this out in 
Dissertations, iii (see quotation, p. 277, and references in 
index under the heading Leontius). May I venture, 
however, to deprecate the attempt of Dr. Relton to 
revive the idea of Apollinarius that we are to ascribe 
an eternal humanity to the Word, before His incarnation. 
I suppose that there is some deep sense in which it must 
be true that all created things have their eternal counter- 
part in the Word, and humanity amongst them. But 
this applies to all created things. And we do well not 
to be " wise above that which is written." There is 
nothing in Scripture suggesting an eternal manhood in 
God nothing at least that is not more adequately 
represented by the idea that man pre-eminently was 
made in the divine image. And this is enough to 
explain how God could take our manhood. 



IT has already become apparent that the Christian 
faith in Jesus as the Son of God or Word of God 
incarnate involves a belief that the being of God is 
not so " simple " as the Jews, with their less intimate 
knowledge of God, had supposed. He is still the 
44 one Lord and His name one " ; but this unity is 
found to contain a distinction within itself first 
of all the distinction of Father and Son, which had 
not been made evident at first. 1 God had, so to 
speak, come nearer to men in Jesus Christ, to redeem 
them, and more of His inner being had shown itself 
to the discerning minds of men in the process. It 
is very important to take note that belief in the 
Holy Trinity was not the result of any philosophical 
or speculative movement among the Christians. 

There have been in the world speculative philo- 
sophies which have arrived at some sort of Trini- 
tarian belief. Thus we read of an Indian Trinity- 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva and of a Trinity in the 
later Greek (Neo-Platonist) philosophy Ihe One, 

1 Whatever anticipations of Trinitarian doctrine have been , 
discovered by Christian theologians in the Old Testament were 
certainly not apparent to the Jews. I have already had occasion 
to speak of the development in later Jewish thought of the 
"wisdom " or " word " of God, as alive and operative in nature, 
in terms almost suggestive of distinct personality. But this* 
suggestion never became explicit among them. 



Reason, and Soul. The former of these doctrines of 
Trinity was an intellectual attempt to construct a 
bridge between the Absolute One and the many 
gods of popular belief, and also an attempt to 
harmonize hostile cults 1 ; and the latter was the 
result of a purely philosophical attempt to analyse 
existence into its elements. But the Christians, 
without any philosophical intention at all, and with- 
out any speculative interest, found themselves 
believing in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as a result 
of their experiences as the disciples of Jesus. The 
name of God had become for them " the name of 
the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." 
As a consequence of the way in which they came so 
to believe, it follows that the doctrine at first pre- 
sented no intellectual difficulty to their minds : for 
in fact mankind experiences no intellectual diffi- 
culty in believing anything which comes to it as 
experienced fact, though the intellectual analysis of 
it may prove it to be as mysterious as possible, and 
the explanation of it wholly baffling. So it appears 
to be at present with the ultimate elements with 
which physics deals, and indeed generally with the 
ultimates of every science. 2 The difficulty of ex- 
planation and analysis does not carry with it any 
difficulty in believing that the facts are so and so. 
So it was at last with the Christians, when the need 
of explaining themselves became urgent, and their 
speculative interest was awakened. They found the 
idea of the Trinity most mysterious, and its formu- 
lation in words most difficult and always finally 

1 See De la Mazeliere, Evolution de Civilisation Indienne, ii 72 : 
" De fait la trimurti n'est pas la conception de troia hypostasee, 
mais la reconciliation de trois cultes hostiles." 

1 This is what Huxley means by protesting that he was not so 
foolish as to reject Christianity because it is mysterious. " The 
mysteries of the Church are child's play compared with the mysteries 
of Nature. The doctrine of the Trinity is not more puzzling than 
the necessary antinomies of physical speculation " (see my Bampton 
Lectures, lect. ii, note 16, pp. 246-7). 


somewhat unsatisfactory ; but, before they made 
any attempt to understand or to formulate, they 
would have said that in their experience of Jesus 
and His Spirit the true God had unmistakably 
revealed Himself to them and laid hold upon them 
in a novel way. So that, as I say, they found 
themselves believing in Father and Son and Spirit ; 
and the subsequent difficulty they found in ex- 
plaining to themselves or to others the mystery 
involved in their belief did not disturb their faith 
in the fact. 

How the belief came about we can easily under- 
stand. They came to believe in Jesus as being the 
Son of God. And reflecting on what His own words 
about Himself implied, and also on what was implied 
in His divine sovereignty as Lord of all, they 
recognized in Him, as we have seen, one who had 
come into the world from the Father and who 
belonged to His being, as Son with a Father. Then 
again they were led to expect from Jesus, the 
Christ, the outpouring of the Spirit of God. And a 
few days after He had finally left them, the Holy 
Spirit actually came, taking them as it were by 
storm, and possessing their souls with an almost 
intoxicating force. And the Spirit dealt with them 
like a person controlling them, and guiding them, 
in the most unmistakable ways. So we see in the 
Acts and Epistles how the thought of God was 
modified by their experiences, and the Name of 
God became to them the threefold Name of the 
Father and of the Son, or Lord Jesus Christ, and 
of the Holy Ghost. It is very interesting to watch 
how the very complex and difficult idea of Trinity 
in Unity passes into their experience, and we will 
seek to follow the process in some detail. But the 
result is manifest prior to any reflection upon the 
intellectual problem which it presents. You see 
what had happened when St. Paul prays that " the 


grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, 
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit may be with 
you all " ; or when he writes about the " same Spirit " 
who pours out the manifold gifts in which the Church 
rejoices, and the " same Lord " who presides over its 
manifold ministrations, or the " same God " whose 
presence is felt in all its various activities ; or when, 
enumerating the grounds of Christian unity, he 
makes mention of the one Spirit, one Lord, one 
God and Father of all l ; or when St. Peter writes 
to the Christians of Asia as those who feel upon 
them a divine election according to the predes- 
tinating choice of God the Father, in sanctification 
of the Spirit, unto obedience to Jesus Christ and 
purification through His blood 2 ; or when St. Jude 
bids Christians to build themselves up in their most 
holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keeping them- 
selves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 3 In all these cases the name 
44 God " is reserved for the Father. It was only 
slowly that the Son and the Spirit came to be freely 
called God, though both St. Paul 4 and St. John do 
so call the Lord Jesus. The reason for this reserve 
was, no doubt, that the instinct of monotheism was 
against such a use, and nothing was more important 
than to preserve the monotheistic standing ground 
of the Old Testament against the surging Paganism 
around. But there is no question that the gracious 
activities of the Son and the Spirit among men were, 
to their believing minds, properly activities of God. 
Thus, whether it be the case, as St. Matthew's Gospel 
relates, that our Lord actually named the Threefold 
Name to the disciples before His departure, or 
whether, as so many critics suggest, it was rather 
that the Palestinian editor of the first Gospel was 
so familiar with the formula as to attribute it to 

1 2 Oor. xiii 13, 1 Cor. xii 4-6, Eph. iv 4-5. * 1 Pet. i 2. 

3 Jude 20-21. See above, p. 86. 


our Lord, we understand how inevitable it was that 
the Name of God should have come to be so named ; 
and when, toward the end of the first century, 
Clement of Rome wishes to repeat the solemn 
affirmation of the old prophets " as the Lord liveth," 
we understand how natural it was that it should 
take the threefold form " as God liveth, and the 
Lord Jesus Christ liveth, and the Holy Spirit." l 
That is what " the living God " had come to mean. 


Now we must examine more in detail how the 
distinctions in the being of God emerge. 

(1) The three distinguishable Persons. That the 
Son of God, as He was on earth, was a person 
distinguishable from His Father is evident. He 
spoke of His own intimate fellowship with the 
Father as person with person. We have traced the 
steps by which the first disciples were led to the 
conviction that this fellowship of Son with Father 
was superhuman and belonged to God's being before 
the world was that is to His eternal being. 2 We 
have seen no reason to doubt that St. Paul occasion- 
ally calls the Lord Jesus by the title God, and 
St. John evidently does so. This is the new thought 
of God that the Father was never without His Son, 
or God never without His Image or Word sub- 
ordinate to the Father as He who receives to Him 
who gives, but belonging to His Being. So far the 

1 Clem., ad Cor. Iviii 2. I do not cite 1 John v 8 the text of 
the three heavenly witnesses because, of course, it is not authentic. 
We may be thankful that Roman Catholic scholars are now allowed 
to acknowledge this. 

1 Dr. Rashdall says (Jesus Human and Divine, p. 50) that St. John 
does not call the pre-existing Word " Son," but surely he does in 
John i 18 (if the right reading is " God only begotten," it carries 
the same meaning) ; cf. iii 17. Also Jesus asserts that His Self 
He who now speaks as man was pre-existent (viii 58, x 36, xvi 28, 
xvii 5). 


New Testament plainly implies a distinction of 
persons in the Godhead. 

Again the Christ, who is the Son, was to bestow the 
Spirit, in whom He Himself lived. In the Synoptists 
our Lord very seldom is represented as speaking 
about the Spirit. Once He seems to speak of the 
Spirit, who dwells in Him and in whose power He 
acts, as a person who can be blasphemed, and again 
He promises that He shall dwell in His disciples 
and inspire them to speak right words. 1 But we 
have noticed that the intensity of the belief of the 
earliest Church in the Spirit would suggest that our 
Lord must have spoken more on this subject than 
the Synoptists would suggest, and certainly in the 
fourth Gospel there is much more. There certainly 
our Lord speaks of the Holy Spirit as of a distinct 
person, " another paraclete " or helper, who is to 
take His own place. In these last discourses, 
though the Greek noun for Spirit is neuter, He is 
always referred to by the masculine adjective "He." 2 
He is described in decidedly personal language as 
guide, interpreter, remembrancer, witness and judge, 
convicting the world. 

Thus it does not surprise us to find the earliest 
Church in Jerusalem and in its further extension 
speaking of the Holy Ghost as of a person possessing 
the Church. To lie to the Church, as Ananias and 
Sapphira did, is to " tempt " the Holy Ghost and 
to " lie " to Him, that is to God. He is a person 
being "resisted " by the Jews. He gives directions, 
speaking in the heart of individuals, to do or not 
to do this or that, to go hexe or there. He " carries 
off " Philip the Evangelist. He is joined to the 
apostles and elders at the Council in Jerusalem in 

1 Mark iii 29, xiii 11. But in the Old Testament once at least 
the Spirit of God is momentarily distinguished from the Father, 
as sending the Righteous Servant, "The Lord God hath sent me 
and his Spirit" (Is. xlviii 16). 

8 John xiv 26, xv 26, xvi 8. 


giving their decision. He directs the appointment 
of particular missionaries and appoints presbyter- 
bishops. 1 From time to time the Lord Jesus appears 
to Stephen and to St. Paul, or speaks to the latter, 2 
but such appearances or messages appear to be 
thought of as quite distinguishable from the ordi- 
nary guidance given by the Spirit : that is to say, 
" the Spirit of Jesus " is not confused with the Lord 

So in St. Paul's Epistles the Holy Spirit is spoken 
of as a person. He intercedes with groanings for 
the Church, as dwelling at its heart, and the Father 
recognizes His mind, because He intercedes accept- 
ably. He bears witness within the heart of the 
Christian to his human spirit. He can be grieved 
and disappointed. 3 Constantly in St. Paul He is 
spoken of as " the Spirit " or " the Spirit of God " 
or " the Spirit of Christ," so as to be plainly distin- 
guished from Christ, though in one passage Christ 
in His glorified manhood is spoken of by St. Paul as 
having become " quickening spirit," 4 and once " the 
Lord " and " the Spirit " appear to be identified. 
This passage, and the various uses of " spirit " in 
the New Testament, are examined elsewhere in some 
detail. 5 But for the present I will content myself 
with a protest. To say, as " the critics " are so 
fond of doing, without more ado, that St. Paul 
" identifies " the glorified Christ and the Spirit, on 
the strength of one phrase, 6 while in some thirty 
passages he distinguishes them, is unreasonable and 
as far as can be from the spirit of legitimate criticism. 
St. Paul is not a writer who is precise in his use of 

See Acts v 3, 4, 9, vii 61, viii 29, 39, xiii 2, xv 28, xvi 7, xx 28. 

Acts vii 65, ix 41, xviii 9, xxiii 11. 

Rom. viii 16, 26, 27, Eph. iv 30, 1 Thes. v 19. 

1 Cor. xv 45. 

2 Cor. iii 17. See appended note, p. 253. 

And even here, according to the MSS., he also speaks of " the 
Spirit of the Lord," thus drawing a distinction. 


terms. But he is a writer who, without such tech- 
nical precision, has a remarkable power of making 
his meaning clear on the whole. He uses " spirit " 
in a great variety of senses. But on the whole he 
leaves no doubt in our mind that he thinks of the 
Holy Spirit dwelling in the Church as a self-conscious 
and willing agent, distinguishable from the Father 
or God and from the glorified Christ. There is " one 
God and Father," and " one Lord," and " one 
Spirit." That is the total impression. 

Thus I think we shall give a true account of the 
doctrine of the Bible as a whole about the Holy 
Spirit if we say that in the Old Testament the Holy 
Spirit of God expresses the activity of God in the 
world, and especially His activity in " inspiring " ex- 
ceptional men and most conspicuously the prophets ; 
and that He is promised as the special endowment 
of the future Messiah and of the " servant of 
Jehovah," and thereafter as the endowment of all 
men in the Messianic kingdom. But in all this there 
was very little tendency to speak of the Spirit as a 
person distinguishable from God. In the New Testa- 
ment, however, this tendency becomes very marked. 
The Spirit is still the active energy of God. But 
there is a very marked tendency to think of Him, 
lodged as He is in the heart of the Church and in the 
heart of the individual Christian, as a person a 
self-conscious subject distinguishable from God and 
from Christ, the Lord or the Son of God, who sends 

On the whole I hold it as unquestionable that the 
Church at the end of the Apostolic Age is found 
believing, as a result of its experience of Jesus and 
His Spirit, in three distinguishable agents : (1) God, 
whom they now know as the Father ; (2) Jesus, the 
Christ and Lord, whom they believe in as the Son 
or Word of the Father, who for their sakes had been 
made man, and in that manhood glorified and 


spiritualized had gone into heaven and had sent 
down upon the Church (3) the Holy Spirit, His 
own Spirit and the Father's, to be their helper, 
strengthener, guide, and intercessor ; and their 
thought of the one God includes that of the three 
" persons." 

(2) Their mutual inclusiveness. But so far we have 
given but a very one-sided account of the theology 
of the New Testament. It is true that they believe 
in one God the Father, and one Lord the Son, and 
one Spirit of the Father and the Son, each conceived 
of as divine and personally distinct. But this sug- 
gests three Gods, and that is not by any means the 
total picture. So close a unity is suggested that 
each involves the others. This impression is conveyed 
quite without the appearance of conscious intention, 
but very subtly, both in St. Paul and in St. John. 
In St. Paul the Holy Spirit possesses the Church 
and its members, so that the Church as a whole and 
the body of each member of the Church is His temple 
(1 Cor. iii 16, 17, and vi 19). But the presence of the 
Holy Spirit, that and nothing else, implies and 
carries with it the presence of Christ. He treats the 
Spirit dwelling in us, or our having the Spirit, as 
equivalent to Christ dwelling in us (Rom. viii 9, 10). 
And the Spirit (or Christ) dwelling in us implies or 
involves God dwelling in us (1 Cor. iii 16, 17). Each 
involves the others. So again it is the Spirit that 
binds the body, which Christians are, into one, and 
diffuses in it His manifold gifts. Therefore it is the 
body of Christ even Christ Himself and He also 
is described, not only as the head of the body, but the 
all-pervading source of its life and unity (1 Cor. 
xii 11-13 and Eph. iv 15-16), and the " fullness of 
Christ " into which it grows is also called the " fullness 
of God " (Eph. iv 13, iii 19). Though the Three are 
spoken of as personally distinct, each by His presence 
and actions involves the presence and action of all. 


The three are one. So in St. John the promised 
coming of the Spirit involves Christ's coming : " I 
will come unto you." The " other paraclete " is to 
be no substitute for His absence but the security for 
His presence. And as He abides in the Father, and 
the Father in Him, so His coming will be the Father's 
coming : " We will come unto you " (St. John xiv 
16-23). So in creation and the sustentation of nature, 
Christ is the agent through Him are all things, and 
in Him all things consist. For that very reason all 
things are " through " God as well as from Him and 
unto Him (Rom. xi 36). This subtle thought appears 
constantly. The three are by no means separate 
persons. There is, it seems, in the three but one 
being, one mind, one activity. 

The common idea of human persons attributes to 
them a mutual exclusiveness. They have been de- 
scribed as " impermeable." This impression, how- 
ever, is largely derived from the separatedness of 
human bodies. When we get to the spiritual self of 
a man, we find that personality is radically social 
and deeply permeable. 1 Nevertheless, the impression 
given us of the mutual interpenetration of the divine 
Three suggests a unity to which the closest conceivable 
fellowship of human persons could not approach. 
It would seem as if the Father can do nothing except 
through the Son or Word and by the Spirit, and the 
Son nothing except from the impulse of the Father 
and in the Spirit, and the Spirit nothing except from 
the Father and the Son, bringing them with Him in 
His action. 2 

1 See especially Canon Richmond's Essay on Personality as a 
Philosophical Principle (Edwin Arnold, 1900) a very valuable 
book which has never received sufficient attention. 

* It is to be noted, however, as I have mentioned before, that 
barely a word is said in the N.T., as far as I can ascertain, of the 
activity of the Spirit in nature or in the conscience of men in general, 
or anywhere at all except inside the Church. The gift of the Spirit 
is represented as poured out upon Christ and, through Him, upon 


All this has a more absorbing interest because it 
appears so unintentionally. It all emerges in the 
process of man's redemption (save so far as cosmic 
functions are also ascribed to the Son). 1 But it 
would seem as if, in the process of redemption, we 
necessarily get some glimpse into the eternal being 
of God. This appearance of a trinity in unity 
as Father and Son and Spirit co-operate in the work 
of redeeming man suggests necessarily what God 
is in Himself. The secret of His being is, as it were, 
in a measure, overheard. The Church, through its 
experience of redemption by Father, Son, and Spirit, 
found itself believing in a trinity of divine persons 
and (none the less) in the unity of God. 


It was with this equipment of faith that the Church 
went out into the world which we have already 
described as full of intellectual curiosity and the love 
of abstract discussion, as well as full of a deep sense 
of spiritual need, which prepared it to welcome any 
real or pretended revelation from the unseen world. 
It was required to explain its faith to the outside 
world, and it found the necessity equally urgent to 

His Church. " The Spirit was not yet " till Christ poured it out, 
and, except in the channel of the Church, not a word is said suggest- 
ing His activity. This silence surely does not mean that the Spirit 
is not the " giver of life " wherever life is. And we are surely 
right to argue that where the fruits of the Spirit in human goodness 
appear, there is the activity of the Spirit. But it is very notable 
that, while the Word of God is said to be the Light which lightens 
every man, nothing of the sort is suggested about the Spirit. Our 
attention is solely directed to His action in the Church so far as the 
New Testament is concerned. 

1 It is worth noting that we can know nothing (save by very fallible 
conjecture or reasoning) about the inner relations of the being of 
God except what is reflected in the original experience of the 
Church. Thus the ground for belief in the eternal procession of 
the Spirit from the Father through the Son lies simply in the fact 
that He did so " proceed " when He was poured out upon the 


explain itself to itself. And the stimulus to explana- 
tion lay chiefly in various suggestions or theories which 
might be more or less plausible, but which the Church 
felt would undermine its faith and its tradition, or were 
contrary to Scripture " Scripture " meaning first the 
Old Testament books and then, as the Gospels and 
St. Paul's Epistles and the other books of the New 
Testament were gradually " canonized," the New 
Testament books also. 

As has been already explained in connection with 
the doctrine of the person of Christ, the Church 
teachers made many mistakes. The " prophet " 
Hermas in the Roman Church was widely believed 
in as a real prophet who received symbolic visions 
which really came from God ; and his moral message 
was full of edification ; but he had no instinct for 
theology, and his utterances, so far as they concern 
the doctrine of God, are confused and confusing. 1 

So also some of the apologists, in their attempts to 
expound the Christian faith in terms of current 
philosophy, use expressions which were afterwards 
repudiated by the Church, as when they seem to 
represent the divine Reason as an eternal quality 
in God which became the personal Word or Son only 
when proceeding forth from God in the act of crea- 
tion. 2 Inasmuch as the individual teachers were 
certainly not infallible, mistakes were inevitable. 
But St. Paul and St. John, when they look back to 
the beginning before the world was, suggest to us 
no such idea, but the thought of one who in that 
eternity already was the Son and the Word of God, 
with God as His offspring, but distinct from Him. 

1 He seems to confuse the Holy Spirit with the eternal spiritual 
being of our Lord ; and Justin Martyr's teaching about the Holy 
Spirit is unsatisfactory, as judged either by Scriptural or later Church 
standards (see Dr. Armitage Robinson, The " Apostolic Preaching " 
of St. Irenaeus, S.P.C.K.; and Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient 
Church, pp. 25-39). 

See Dr. Kidd, Hist, oj the Church, i 359-71. 


"He (the Son) is before all things." "In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with 
God, and the Word was God." l 

On the whole the difficulty proved to be to avoid, 
on the one hand, language which suggested Tritheism 
i.e. the belief in three Gods rather than one, or 
one God who was the source of two others, the Son 
and the Spirit, or who was the source of one other 
(the Son) and an influence called the Holy Spirit 
and, on the other hand, to avoid what came to be 
called Sabellianism, or Modalism, which sought to 
describe Son and Spirit as only aspects, phases, or 
manifestations of the one God and not distinctive 
persons. On the whole, the danger \vas greater in 
the Ththeistic direction than in the Sabellian, for 
the Church was keenly alive at least to the distinctive 
being of the Son who w r as incarnate. One difficulty 
was that, to start with, there was no word current 
in Greek or Latin to express " person." You could,, 
of course, describe a human person by calling him 
a man, or a spirit by calling him an angel or demon 
or God, and you could talk of mind or soul, but for 
a person as such whether God, or angel, or man 
there was no current word. It was, in fact, the 
Christian sense of the value of personality which 
disclosed the need of such a word. Origen, in de- 
scribing the " tradition " of the Churches derived 
from the apostles, which all Christians are bound 
to hold, describes it as a belief in the one God, the 
Creator of all that is, and the author of the Old 
Testament as well as the New, who before all creation 
was the Father of Him, the Son, through whom all 
things were made, and who in these last days, empty- 
ing Himself, was incarnate and was made man, by 
a birth of the Virgin and of the Holy Spirit, being 
and continuing to be God : and in the Holy Spirit 
as associated in honour and dignity with the Father 
1 Col. i 17, John i 1. 


and the Son. 1 This account of tradition manifestly 
leaves open questions, especially about the Holy 
Spirit, which Origen would have men solve by dili- 
gent investigation of the Holy Scriptures. Finally, 
however, it was decided that the Three must be 
regarded as " of one substance," that is to say, as 
belonging to the one eternal being of God, and that 
each must be distinguished as eternally a person 
' the words chosen to designate " person " that is, the 
conscious subject beingtheGreekword,"hypostasis," 
which hitherto had been used in the general sense 
of substance, and the Latin word " persona," which, 
meaning first the actor's mask, and then his " part " 
or the character which he represented, and then the 
part which anyone is called to play in life, was already 
trembling on the verge of meaning what we mean by 
a person. The Fathers are profuse in their apologies 
for the inadequacy of these terms. Man has no 
celestial language, but God has revealed Himself so 
distinctly that we must find the best words we can 
to describe and guard the revealed reality. After a 
time, of course, as always happens when a new 
terminology is adopted, people got used to the terms, 
and the apologies are not so much heard. The 
Church doctrine is that God subsists as three persons 
in one substance or reality. " Deus Pater, Deus 
Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres 
dii : sed unus est Deus." But it was again and 
again affirmed that the term " person " is not used 
of God in exactly the same sense as it is used of 
human persons. The Three are one in a fuller sense 
than could be true of three human individuals. 

Harnack and others have laid great stress upon 
certain differences of a metaphysical kind which 
appear to distinguish the way of thinking about the 
Trinity which we find in the great Greek teachers 
(Origen and, later, the Cappadocians, Basil and the 

1 De Princip.f i 4. 


Gregories) and Latins like Tertullian, from what 
we find in Athanasius at Alexandria and Augustine 
in the West. The truth is that the former teachers 
begin, on the whole, from the thought of the different 
persons, and then seek to give intellectual expression 
to their unity, while Athanasius and, especially, 
Augustine, begin from the unity, and then within the 
unity are at pains to be true to the distinctions also. 
There is a difference ; and doubtless it would have 
become considerable if these Church teachers had 
been merely philosophers pursuing abstract truth. 
But they had, all of them, behind them the faith 
of the Church in the one God the Father, and the 
eternal Son who was incarnate in Jesus Christ, and 
the Holy Spirit who had inspired and guided in 
such and such ways the people of God, and who 
could only be described as " persons," and who yet 
belonged to the being of the one God. Granted this, 
their metaphysical differences, in the extremely rare- 
fied air in which a discussion of the eternal being, 
whom we know only in part and discern only in a 
dim reflection, must necessarily proceed, are not, to 
most of us, of much importance, and easily admit of 
being exaggerated. 1 

Amongst us, however, Dr. Rashdall has been 
constantly appealing to the teaching of Augustine 
and later of St. Thomas Aquinas as if they did not 
really maintain the distinct and eternal personality 
of Father, Son, and Spirit, but were content to 
believe in one God in whom " Father," " Son," and 
" Spirit " are names only for qualities or activities 
within the one divine mind and being, which are 
not distinguishable persons at all. 2 Now it is quite 
true of St. Augustine that, deriving his philosophy 
from Neo-Platonism, partly through the medium of 

1 See Tixeront, Histoire des dogmes (Lecoffre, Paris) ; vol. ii 
gives a very fair account of these differences (pp. 67 ff. and 261 fl). 
Rashdall, Jesus, Human and Divine, pp. 24 f., 61 f., 67. 


Victorinus Afer, he is jealous above all things for 
the maintenance of the unity of God. And the 
human analogy which he loves best as pointing 
upwards to the divine being is the analogy of the 
distinct functions in the single human person- the 
fundamental Self (mind or memory) with its expres- 
sion in Thought (or word), and then again in Will 
(or love) ; and it is quite true that this analogy of 
itself would not. suggest three persons in the God- 
head. It is a manner of thinking the issue of which 
would be Unitarian, no doubt. 

Thus if Dr. Rashdall had said that St. Augustine 
(and later St. Thomas) uses an analogy which sug- 
gests something much less than three persons, he 
would have said no more than the truth. St. 
Augustine himself is careful to point this out and 
correct the impression. 1 For St. Augustine's faith 
and doctrine is as far as possible from resting on this 
analogy or on any argument. It rests in the revela- 
tion of God contained in Scripture and taught by 
the Church. And there is no doubt how St. Augustine 
conceives this revelation, and what his doctrine is. 
It is familiar to us in the Quicunque vult. It is the 
doctrine of one God in three " persons " for we 
must use the term person for lack of a better name. 
The divine being is one one substance, one mind, 
one will. But this divine being exists in three per- 
sons, each of whom is whole God, in each of whom 
the divine mind and all the divine attributes exist 
personally. You may, of course, say that St. 
Augustine's doctrine is not intelligible, or you may 
say that his favourite analogy 2 does not tend to prove 
his doctrine. But there is no sense in appealing to 
Augustine as if he did not hold that each of the 

1 Epist. clxix. 6. 

2 He also uses an analogy which suggests distinction of persons 
the analogy of the Lover and the Loved. Then he tries unsuccess- 
fully to make " Love '' suggest a third person (De Trin. viii 14). 


three persons, of Himself, is whole God, or as if he 
would tolerate any kind of " reduced " Trinitarianism. 1 
So it is with St. Thomas Aquinas. He, too, 
begins from the divine unity. He, too, like Augustine, 
derives his philosophy of God partly through Neo- 
platonist channels the medium being the unknown 
thinker who wrote under the name of Dionysius, 
the Athenian disciple of St. Paul, and who was 
uncritically taken throughout the middle ages to 
be really that apostolic man. Thus, like Augustine, 
he seeks to represent to himself the distinctions in 
the Godhead after the manner of internal relations 
within a single thinking and willing subject. No 
doubt this manner of thinking taken by itself would 
lead to a Unitarian conception of God. But Thomas, 
no more than Augustine, contemplates the possi- 
bility of such a conclusion. He knows that the 
Christian doctrine of God was not the product of 
human reasoning, but of divine revelation. He 
knows that human reasonings could never sub- 
stantiate the doctrine of the Trinity, though they 
may be able to approve it, and cannot disprove it. 
He himself receives the doctrine of the Bible and 
the Church without a shadow of question. In article 
after article of his Summa he asserts, like Augustine, 
that the Divine being subsists in three eternal and 
co-equal persons. The relationships in God are not 
qualities but persons. Godhead is in essence one 
and indivisible, but each of the persons in whom it 
subsists is a distinct person (alius) from the others. 2 

1 " Tantus est solus Pater, vel solus Filius, vel solus Spiritus 
Sanctus, quantus est simul Pater et Filius et. Spiritus Sanctus " 
(De Trin. vi 9). 

2 Summa Theol. pars la, qu. xxxi, art. 2 : " Personal! ter alius 
Pater, alius Filius, alius Spiritus Sanctus." ** Cum nomen alius, 
masculine acceptum, non nisi distinctionem suppositi in natura 
[a distinction of subject in nature] significet, Filius alius a Patre 
convenienter dicitur." " Neque tamen dicimus unicum Deum, 
quia pluribus Deitas est communis." " Pater est alius a Filio, 
sed non aliud. Et e converse dicimus quod sunt unum sed non 


It requires indeed a philosophical microscope to 
distinguish in final outcome the doctrine of the 
Cappadocians who begin with the Three from the 
doctrine of Augustine and Aquinas who begin from 
the One. Both with the like emphasis believe in 
the one God in three persons. 

But I am not writing in the main for those who 
can move freely in the high air of metaphysical 
speculation. Probably most of us entertain what 
seems to us a well-grounded scepticism as to the 
powers of the abstract reason. But we very earnestly 
seek to know whether apart from subtle differences 
the traditional Christian doctrine of one God as 
existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, 
is for us believable. It is to this question that I 
must address myself, without raising any question 
of ecclesiastical authority. 

I think the experience of the disciples must be, 
in some sense, repeated in us. I have already called 
attention to the fact that the doctrine of the Trinity 
is clearly there- implicit certainly, and in great 
measure explicit in the New Testament, especially 
in St. Paul and in St. John. It emerged simply 
in the process of believing in Christ as the Son of 
God incarnate and in the realized activity of the 
Holy Spirit- the Spirit of God received from the 
ascended Christ. I do not think my readers can 
question this. To believe in Christ, as the first 
Christians came to believe in Him, involves us 
necessarily in the thought of God as not a solitary 
monad. There in the ultimate being is Father 
and Son- God and His Word or self-expression. 
There already is the distinction of persons. Perhaps 
we should have been disposed to think of the Spirit 

unus." Cf. qu. xxx, art. 1 : *' Cum in divinis sint plures res 
subsistentes in divina natura, plures quoque personas ibi esse 
necesse est." Cf. qu. xxix, art. 4 : " Hoc nomen persona dicitur 
ad se, non ad alterum ; quia significat relationem, non per modum 
relationis, sed per modum substantiae quae est hypostasis." 


as only the influence or activity of God in the souls 
of men. But we must acknowledge that this will 
not account for the language of the New Testament 
or the language of Christ, if we believe that He really 
uttered the discourses in the Fourth Gospel, which 
it is very hard to ascribe to any lower speaker. 
Certainly the first Christians felt themselves in their 
relations with the Holy Spirit as in contact with a 
person, and so spoke of Him. And if we are con- 
strained to admit distinctions or mutual relation- 
ships in God, it seems absurd to originate a hitherto 
unheard-of doctrine of Duality for the originally 
Trinitarian belief, when plainly we have no new facts 
to go upon. Let us see then whether this doctrine 
of the Trinity commends itself to our reason. 

I think we shall probably agree with Huxley that 
the foundations of things are always mysterious 
and the doctrine of the Trinity not more mysterious 
than the ultimate principles of physics or biology. 
To feel that a belief is rational we must feel- not 
that we could demonstrate it a priori but that it 
is grounded in experience and that it interprets 
experience. It was a true saying of Dr. Hort, 
who was certainly one of the greatest men of the 
last generation, that the evidence for the truth of 
the Christian revelation is shown, not so much in 
any light which it receives, as in the light it gives. 1 
What commends the doctrine of the Trinity is the 
light it throws on some otherwise dark problems. 

1. It alone enables us to think of God as in Him- 
self " the living God " apart from and independently 
of creation. We have seen at an earlier stage of our 
argument that the " unassisted " speculative reason 
of man arrives, with sufficient assurance, at a belief 
in God, who is the " Wisdom and Spirit of the 
Universe" that is at what is called the Higher 
Pantheism; but that it does not seem to carry us 

1 See The Way, the Truth, and the Life (Macmillan), p. 11. 


with any security to a belief in a God prior to and 
independent of the world. God appears to be as 
dependent upon the world for self-expression as 
the world is on Him. He realizes Himself in the 
world. Perhaps He only attains self-consciousness 
in the self-consciousness of men. We also saw plainly 
enough that from a religious point of view such a 
conception falls wholly short of what men what 
most men need. The religion of the prophets of 
Israel and of our Lord gave a profound stimulus 
to human life just because it represented God as a 
person, perfect and complete in Himself, having the 
characteristics of a person, wisdom, justice and love 
in a supreme sense ; having a will and purpose for 
men, who were made in His image, but alive in 
Himself before ever the world was, the Creator of 
all that is and the judge of all rational beings. We 
satisfied ourselves that we must accept the message 
of the prophets and of our Lord as a genuine self- 
disclosure of God. But we find ourselves in- 
tellectually paralysed when we try to give any 
meaning to this idea of one self-existent being, 
alive in Himself with the fullness of life before the 
world was. For life, as far as we can see, involves 
relationship, and rational or moral life the relationship 
of persons. How can we think of an eternal will 
without an eternal effect or product of this will, or 
of an eternal consciousness without an object of 
this consciousness adequate to itself, or of an eternal 
love without an eternal object of love ? To say 
that God finds Himself first in nature is disastrous 
for religion. But how can He live and love alone ? 
Now, as we have seen, the idea of the Trinity was 
not evolved in response to any such intellectual 
questionings. No difficulty appears to have been 
felt by the Jews or first disciples in believing in God 
who is one only person. But they found them- 
selves, in the way we have described, as a consequence 


of their experience of Christ and of the Spirit, be- 
lieving in a trinity of persons in the one God. A 
glimpse into God's eternal life seems thus to have 
been given to men. And the relief to the intellect is 
great. Now we can see how God can be alive with 
the fullest life we can conceive of will and reason 
and love because His own being involves in itself 
a relationship of persons. In the eternity which 
we cannot with our finite intellects conceive He 
was productive, and found His object of knowledge 
and object of love in His eternal Word or Son and 
in the Holy Spirit. As I have said, this apparent 
necessity of thought carries us much more completely 
to the conviction of some relationship of persons 
than to the specific conception of Trinity. Perhaps 
it does not surprise us that we do not find our rational 
powers go far enough to discover God as He is. We 
shall be content to accept God's self-disclosure as it 
has been given. But the intellectual relief is great 
when we find ourself authorized to think of the very 
being of God as a movement of life in which the 
Father is eternally expressing Himself and knowing 
and being known, loving and being loved, in the 
Son and the Spirit. There is at once the fullness of 
life in God, for the one eternal being is a fellowship 
of persons, one with an intense unity, but alive with 
the movement of a perfect life. I could not have 
discovered the Trinity. But it is only the dis- 
closure of it which enables me to think about God 
with any satisfaction as alive and personal in Himself. 
2. I am quite able to see that the higher I go up 
in the scale of creation the more complex does the 
living organism become. The nature of man is 
the most complex unity in the world known to us. 
If I seek to rise to the source and penetrate to the 
ground of all life, and find this source and ground 
to be a living God perfect in Himself, the upward 
soaring train of thought leads me to postulate that 


this Eternal Being must be something quite different 
from a monotonous unity. When I admit the dis- 
closure of Trinity that is multiplicity in unity- 
it is only what I should expect in the perfect and 
absolute being. And I can dimly conceive how there 
in the eternal Word and the Spirit was the counter- 
part, under conditions of eternity and perfection, 
of all that wealth of life which is gradually evolved 
on a lower plane in the process of creation. 

3. Again, only when I am a believer in the Trinity 
do I seem to lose the sense of bewilderment which 
the old thinkers of Greece experienced in bringing 
the One, the Unchangeable and the Eternal, into any 
relation to a world of which the very being lies in 
movement and change. The moving world and the 
unchanging, immobile God seemed not merely to 
belong to different grades of being, but to be in no 
possible relation to one another. Does not creation 
involve movement ? Does not God move in the 
moving world which He sustains in being, and live 
in its life ? But now I am delivered from all this 
horrible imagination of a God who is absolute im- 
mobility. For God is eternally alive eternally 
moving out into self-expression. He has the whole 
movement of absolute life within Himself. Thus 
to create and to begin to live and act on the lower 
plane of gradual and progressive creation is no 
unnatural thought to associate with a God who 
eternally is life in Himself, because there is in Him 
what is dimly descried as the eternal generation of 
the Son and the procession of the Spirit. 1 

4. Finally, is it not a delight to believe that the 
ultimate reality is not monotonous unity, but a 
unity which contains in itself a fellowship of persons 
one with a unity which can never be realized 

1 This idea is developed by Victorinus Afer, whose importance 
in his influence on Augustine has not had enough made of it (see 
art in Diet, of Ch. Biography). 


among human persons, but which at the same tim 
assures us that personality and personal life essentially 
involves fellowship ? In man personality emerges 
out of fellowship and always involves fellowship. 
The idea of personality as primarily individual and 
fundamentally selfish we have learnt to be false. 
It is only in fellowship we begin to realize ourselves, 
and the more widely we expand into fellowship the 
more we realize ourselves. And it is with delight 
that we see the ground of this law in the Supreme. 
For there the eternal being is fellowship. There 
is no priority in Him of unity to multiplicity, and 
no priority of multiplicity to unity. The Eternal 
is one in many and many in one one God, Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. 

" If reason," says Lotze, " is not of itself capable 
of finding the highest truth, but on the contrary 
stands in need of a revelation, still reason must be 
able to understand the revealed truth, at least so 
far as to recognize in it the satisfying and convincing 
conclusion of those upward soaring trains of thought 
which reason itself began, led by its own needs, 
but was not able to bring to an end." x 

Is not this a good description of how reason stands 
towards revelation in this matter of the doctrine of 
the Trinity ? 


On the New Testament uses of " spirit," and especially on 
2 Cor. Hi 17 ; see above, p. 237. 

" Spirit'' is used in a variety of connected senses in 
the New Testament, not always easily distinguishable : 
(1) Of God (John iv 24, " God is Spirit ") to express His 
utter freedom from conditions of place or form. As 
pure spirit He seeks only spiritual worshippers. (2) Of 
created spirits, good and bad. In almost all cases such 

1 Lotze, Microcosmus (Eng. trans.), ii 660. 


spirits are spoken of as persons, but in one or two places 
44 spirit " is used in a sense not unlike ours when we speak 
of the spirit of the age (see my St. John's Epistles, pp. 
168-9). (3) Of the human spirit, markedly distinguished 
from the flesh and from the Spirit of God, see especially 
1 Cor. ii 11, 2 Cor. vii 1. (4) Of the whole manhood of 
Christ, as spiritualized and glorified in heaven. See John 
vi 63, " The things that I have been speaking to you of 
my flesh and blood are to be thought of as the flesh 
and blood of the ascended Christ, and therefore as spirit 
and life, not unprofitable flesh." Burney, I am glad to 
see, supports me in this rendering, Aramaic Origin of the 
Fourth Gospel, p. 109. So in 1 Cor. xv 45, St. Paul 
says, " The last Adam became life-giving spirit " (5) 
Of the Holy Spirit of God which dwelt pre-eminently in 
our Lord, and after His ascension is given as His own 
Spirit no less than His Father's, to the Church. 

Now the question is whether St. Paul in 2 Cor. iii 17, 
44 The Lord is the Spirit," identifies Christ the Lord in 
heaven with the Holy Spirit, contrary, as I have said, to 
his constant custom of distinguishing them. I think it 
is very difficult to suppose this. And the passage seems 
to me to suggest a quite different interpretation. Accord- 
ing to the MSS., it runs (ver. 16) : 44 But whensoever 
the children of Israel shall turn to the Lord [referring 
to Ex. xxxiv 34] the veil is taken away. Now the 
Lord is the Spirit : and where the Spirit of the 
Lord is, there is liberty." Here the sudden transition 
from the Lord who is the Spirit to the Spirit of the 
Lord, followed by another transition in the next 
verse back again to 44 the Lord the Spirit " seems 
to me to be so awkward as to make eminently probable 
the minute emendation 1 of the text proposed by Dr. 
Hort and Dr. Chase, according to which we should read, 
44 Whensoever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is 
taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where 
the Spirit is Lord, there is liberty. And we all 
. . . reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being trans- 
formed ... as from the Lord the Spirit." Here St. 

1 An emendation which only involves the change of v into v 
Kvpiov into Kvpiov). Dr. Chase, however, prefers 

THE MEANING OF 2 COR. m 17 255 

Paul no doubt in some sense calls the Spirit the Lord. 
But I have come to be convinced that it is in this sense : 
" The Lord to whom Israel must turn is the Spirit [i.e. 
the Holy Spirit now given to the true Israel in the Chris- 
tian Church]. Only where that Spirit is Lord is real 
liberty, and it is in the power of this Spirit-Lord that 
we Christians are being transformed." It is true that 
St. Paul does not elsewhere call the Spirit Lord, but I 
think he is led to do so here by the suggestion of the 
narrative in Exodus : and it appears to me that there is no 
violence or improbability involved in this supposition, viz. 
that as St. Paul constantly calls the Father the Lord, 
and Jesus Christ the Lord, so once he should have called 
the Holy Spirit the Lord for obviously He is Lord in 
Christian souls in the same sense as the Father and as 
Jesus. This seems to me much more intelligible than 
that St. Paul should confuse Christ and the Spirit by 
saying " The Lord Jesus is the Spirit " while he else- 
where so clearly and constantly distinguishes them. It 
is quite intelligible that St. Paul should once call Christ 
in His glorified manhood " quickening spirit," as having 
become wholly spiritual and the source of life to His 
Church, but surely not that he should call Him " the 
[Holy] Spirit " with the definite article, contrary to his 
constant^ practice. 



WE are now occupied in considering certain ideas 
and doctrines which are involved or implied in the 
New Testament doctrine of Christ. And one of 
the most obvious of these is the idea and doctrine 
of the sinfulness of humanity. For among the most 
familiar of the titles of Christ is that of the Redeemer 
or the Saviour who " shall save His people from 
their sins " and that of the Reconciler, who by 
making atonement or propitiation reconciles us 
to God, and that of the Second Adam who in- 
augurates a new humanity regenerated and renewed 
in Him. These titles mean that mankind are in a 
state of unnatural bondage to sin or to the power 
of evil, and need to have their freedom restored to 
them by the act of God ; and that they are alienated 
from God and their true good and need to have a 
new status of sonship conferred on them by the 
grace of God ; and that they belong to a race under 
condemnation and need incorporation upon a new 
stock. I suppose no one would be disposed to 
question that the Bible as a whole views men as 
being to start with in this unnatural condition, and 
as needing to be saved from it, and as unable to save 
themselves. This assumption is stated in a striking 
form by St. John when he says that " if we say we 
have not sinned, we make God a liar." For, as 
Westcott interprets the phrase, " all the communica- 
tions of God to men presuppose that the normal 



relations of earth and heaven have been interrupted. 
To deny this is not to question God's truth in one 
particular point, but to question it altogether." 

This is the point then. The Bible is the record 
of a Gospel of redemption. It is a proclamation 
of good tidings from God. It holds out to man 
the highest and most glorious possibilities in Christ 
Jesus. But it does so on the assumption that in 
humanity as it stands there is something radically 
perverted, in view of which it needs for its salvation 
something quite different from mere example or 
encouragement to make the best of itself it needs 
fundamental reconstruction by Him who originally 
created it. 

I have just said that it will hardly be doubted 
that this is the Biblical assumption, but we had 
better examine the assumption a little, and especially 
we had better examine our Lord's estimate of His 
brother men. 

This estimate, like everything else in our Lord's 
teaching, is given on the Old Testament background. 
The Old Testament is full of the picture of mankind 
within and without the chosen people as a wicked 
world, in which God is profoundly disappointed 
and which lies under His just and inevitable wrath. 
On this dark background there is the radiant picture 
of the righteous who " walk with God " ; but, as 
the sense of the individual spiritual life develops, 
even the righteous man appears as sinful and con- 
fessing his sinfulness. " There is no man that 
sinrteth not." x The record of God's dealings with 
His saints, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel, is that they 
are not only " heard " but also " forgiven " and 

i 1 Kings viii 46 ; cf. Eccl. vii 20, Job iv. 17 (R.V. marg.), 
xiv 4, xv 14-16. 


" punished." l Isaiah confesses his own sinfulness 
as well as his people's. "I am a man of unclean 
lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean 
lips." 2 The penitent psalmist acknowledges sin 
as inherent in his nature even before his birth. 
" Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin hath 
my mother conceived me." 3 This is the tone of 
the Old Testament. Thus when John the Baptist 
summons Israel to.prepare for the coming of the Christ 
it is by a call to repentance a fundamental change 
of mind and by a baptism for the remission of 
sins, 4 and that is represented as the substance of 
the first preaching of Jesus. 5 

There is no doubt that our Lord is very far from 
representing human nature as He found it as wholly 
corrupt. He showed a vivid appreciation of what 
we should call natural goodness, which He found 
in those whom the Jew r s regarded as outcasts at 
least as much as within the chosen people. He 
values " the cup of cold water " and every act of 
natural kindness. He welcomes men who show a 
right disposition of mind as " not far from the 
kingdom of God." Also He is extraordinarily 
gracious to the outcasts. The " publicans and 
harlots " of society are assured of ready forgiveness. 
He came, He said, not to call the righteous but 
sinners. But there is a tendency to misrepresent 
our Lord's graciousness. Two things are specially 
noticeable in our Lord's teaching about sin. (1) He 
dissociated it wholly from physical and ceremonial 
associations and placed its seat firmly and only in 
the heart of man. 6 And (2) His main emphasis 
is on the sins of " the righteous," that is, of those 
who were so regarded and so regarded themselves. 
Sins of violence and lust were, of course, regarded 
as sins and stamped with reprobation in respectable 

1 Ps. xcix 8. 2 Is. vi 5. 3 Ps. li 5. 

4 Mark i 4. 5 Mark i 15. 6 Mark vii 20-3. 


Jewish society. But Jesus was at pains to bring 
to light the even deeper sinfulness of spiritual sins, 
such as were quite consistent with social respec- 
tability and involved no ceremonial pollution- 
hypocrisy or self-righteousness, avarice, pride, con- 
tempt, hatred, spiritual blindness and prejudice, 
and above all unmercifulness and the neglect of 
active goodness. " Inasmuch as ye did it not unto 
one of the least of these my brethren . . . depart 
from me." Such sins of the spirit He represents 
as even more dangerous than disreputable sins. 
" The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom 
of God before you." 1 

When our Lord announced the joy of heaven as 
lying more in the reclamation of the lost than in 
the righteousness of " the ninety and nine righteous 
persons who need no repentance," 2 He was speaking 
to the Pharisees and scribes who murmured at His 
receiving sinners and eating with them. They are 
represented in the character of the elder brother 
in the parable of the prodigal son, and of the 
righteous Pharisee in the story of the devotions of 
the Pharisee and the publican. Thus it is im- 
possible to deny an ironical note in this allusion to 
"righteousness." It was exactly this righteousness 
which He came to expose as " a whited sepulchre." 
On the whole it must be acknowledged that while 
our Lord infinitely deepened the sense of God's 
willingness to forgive, and refused to regard the 
outcasts as "hopeless cases," He also deepened and 
broadened the sense of sin. He appears to assume 
its universality. Thus it is noticeable that, speak- 
ing to His new flock in the Sermon on the Mount 
and reminding them of the natural goodness of men 
in their love of their children, He says : " If ye 
then being evil know how to give good gifts," etc. 
He compares men to Satan's " goods " held in 

1 Matt, xxi 31. * Luke xv 7 ; see verse 2. 


bondage by the " strong man" and waiting for the 
stronger to deliver them. 1 He claims of men the 
moral equivalent of self-mutilation 2 as the price 
to be paid to get rid of sinful inclination ; and 
nothing can exceed the simplicity with which He 
speaks of hell, with its awful anguish, as the in- 
evitable penalty of tolerated sin, whether sins of 
omission or of commission. Thus it is quite natural 
that, when our Lord has in view the kingdom of God 
which He is inaugurating, He should declare that 
none can be fit for it without a fundamentally fresh 
start. " Verily I say unto you, except ye turn and 
become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter 
into the kingdom of heaven." 3 And this funda- 
mental turning appears to be inseparable from 
discipleship to Himself, which means a very thorough 
faith in Him as the divinely commissioned Redeemer. 
This is apparent in the Synoptists. And it is pro- 
foundly expressed in the Gospel of St. John. There 
our Lord is represented as holding Himself aloof 
from men's first enthusiasm for Him. " Jesus did 
not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all 
men, and because he needed not that anyone should 
bear witness concerning man ; for he himself knew 
what was in man." 4 He knew to start with that 
sad secret of human untrustworthiness, which in 
slow and embittering experience has in countless 
cases and in every age turned philanthropists into 
cynics and made wise men mad. Therefore He 
demands of men a deep reconstruction. " Except 
a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God," " Except a man be born of water and the 
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 5 
Certainly this is the spirit in which the first Church 

1 Matt, xii 29, Luke xi 21. This applies not only to the " pos- 
sessed," see verses 23-6. 

2 Mark ix 43-9, Matt, v 27-30, xviii 8. 

3 Matt, xviii 2. * John ii 24. 6 John hi 3, 5. 


in Jerusalem understood its message. It was no 
announcement to men of a glory which was already 
theirs, if only they would open their eyes to discern 
their true nature. Enlightenment was not enough. 
They needed to embrace by faith a " salvation," 
now first offered them offered in a new " name " 
which was the only name of salvation and the gate- 
way to this salvation was baptism, which conveyed 
to them what they could not otherwise receive, the 
forgiveness of their sins, and prepared them for the 
new gift of the Spirit. 1 Even the saintly Gentile 
soldier Cornelius, though the effective appeal of his 
"prayers and alms" to the ear of God is fully recog- 
nized, and though God in merciful manner gives 
the Holy Spirit to him and his company, is not 
thereby dispensed from the entrance into the Church 
by baptism. Like everybody else he needs the new 
standing ground " in the name," and the forgiveness 
of his sins. 2 

I do not think the New Testament can be accused 
of any pretension to expound the secrets of divine 
justice for the satisfaction of our intellect. It does 
what is much better. It assures us of the character 
of God and thus enables us to feel quite confident 
that He will deal in justice and love with every 
human soul He has created. But it exists to record 
a Gospel a salvation for men, publicly proclaimed, 
and divinely covenanted ; and this Gospel is based 
on an assumption that what humanity needs is 
something other than development or enlighten- 
ment. It needs fundamental reconstruction- a 
fresh start, a new birth, forgiveness and renewal, 
and of all this there is only one source the Prince 
of the New Life, the Saviour, the Redeemer Jesus 
Christ : and this fresh start is offered, so to speak, 
objectively, as membership in the new community, 

1 Acts ii 38-40, iii 19-26, viii 14 ff., xix 4-6. 

2 Acts x 43, 47. 


to those who seek this great deliverance as sinners 
who need to be saved. 

I do not think I need pursue the enquiry through 
the New Testament. Everyone recognizes in St. 
Paul the strongest and most vehement maintainer 
of the corruption of the " natural " man and his 
need of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ. 
We will come back to St. Paul directly in connection 
with the idea of * the Fall. I would only say in 
passing that I think he has been too exclusively 
judged from the early chapters of the Romans. 
And even in that Epistle he contemplates " Gentiles 
who have no law " and yet "do by nature the 
things of the law " who " by patience in well- 
doing seek for glory and honour and immortality," 
and who find what they seek, whether Jews or 
Gentiles : and he speaks of men of old who " had 
not sinned after the similitude of Adam's trans- 
gression." 1 Elsewhere he bids the Christians look 
for and appreciate (apparently in the world at large) 
a standard of truth, honour, justice, purity, and 
virtue. 2 I do not think St. Paul would have been 
blind to goodness of character wherever found, or 
would have doubted its acceptableness to God. 
He is not a systematic theorizer, blind to what 
does not seem to square with his theory. He is 
stating a general impression of the Gentile world ; 
and if he paints it in lurid colours, he seems to think 
that those he writes to will not find the language 
too strong. 3 Similar language is used by St. Peter 
to Gentile Christians in similar circumstances : and 
St. James' estimate of human nature as it is found 
among the Jews is not less severe. 

1 Rom. ii 7, 10, 14, v 14. 2 Phil, iv 8. 

3 The Ephesian Stoic, who about the middle of the first century 
wrote " letters " under the assumed name of Heracleitus, speaks 
quite as severely of Ephesian society. See my Ephesians, p. 253. 



The kind of estimate of human nature which we 
find in the New Testament, both in its optimism 
and its pessimism that is, its glorious estimate of 
what humanity is intended by God to be and is 
capable of becoming, and its dark estimate of what 
it has in fact, by rebellion against God, made itself 
to be was not out of harmony either with the 
general sentiment in the period of the Roman 
Empire when Christianity first spread, or with 
the general sentiment of the middle ages. In both 
periods it was natural to men to feel that the world 
was a very evil world, that nothing that men could 
do for themselves would make it better, and that 
they must look for redemption to God and a spiritual 
world above. But what characterized the early 
Renaissance, and what reasserted itself l in the spirit 
of industrialism and in modern movements as a 
whole, at least before the Great War, was a sense 
of human power the power of man to redeem him- 
self by his own initiative, especially by the instrument 
of knowledge in general and the science of nature 
in particular, which was at his disposal and which 
he could manipulate in the cause of his own advance- 
ment. This is the gospel of the Kingdom of Man. 
And this gospel has seemed beyond question to 
I make the language of the Bible sound out of date 
| as if it disparaged the " God in man " which is the 
I only kind of God congenial to this modern spirit. 

It is not that the modern estimate of human 
I nature as it is, or as it has actually been found in 
| experience hitherto, is higher than the old orthodox 
I estimate apart from some mediaeval and Calvinistic 
: exaggerations. Rousseau and Byron and Shelley 

1 Reasserted itself, I mean, against Lutheranism and Calvinism, 
which crossed and half-extinguished the spirit of the Renaissance. 


are as emphatic as the writers in the Bible that 
"our life is a false nature 'Tis not in the harmony 
of things." And now-a-days we hear no more 
of Rousseau's idealizing of natural or primitive 
man. He is involved in the same condemnation 
with civilized man. All around us to-day a cynically 
low estimate of man seems to prevail in ordinary 
literature a low estimate of his capacity to restrain 
his lusts, or to maintain unselfishness, honesty and 
truthfulness in industrial life or in politics or in the 
law courts ; and the spirit of idealism is fluctuating 
and weak. What seems to be lacking, where the 
characteristically modern spirit, in any one of its 
many forms, prevails, is the readiness to welcome 
the idea of redemption as the gift of God, or the self- 
revelation of God which is incidental to redemption. 
We seem to want a God who is so fully to be identified 
with ourselves that either He must take us as we are, 
and not judge us or condemn us for our sins, or else 
(in the case of the more enthusiastic and reforming 
spirits) that we can find Him sufficiently in our own 
enlightenment and our own strivings after progress. 

But, after all, we are not in very good spirits about 
progress and world -redemption. There are a great 
many people, even among agnostics, who are feeling 
that there is something in the old language about 
the need of a return to God. What is greatly to 
be desired in ordinary men is the courageous de- 
termination to think for themselves. They have 
been led captive by the prophets of the modern 
spirit so as to take it for granted that the Bible 
religion is antiquated. Now, of course, the 
traditional religion had become encrusted with 
antiquated ideas in stagnant ages. And an age 
which is an age of real and progressive science justly 
demands of religion correspondence with science 
rightly so called. But when the matter in hand is 
the interpretation of human life, which science has 


not hitherto shown any profound power to interpret 
or to redeem, it is surely not too much to ask people 
to reconsider frankly for themselves whether their 
own reason warrants them in rejecting the estimate 
of human life and its needs which is undoubtedly 
Christ's, and the offer of divine redemption which 
He makes. And it is certain that the optimism of 
Christianity, its glorious appreciation of human capa- 
bility and destiny, is bound up with its pessimism 
with its profound sense that mankind has set 
itself by its own sin on the wrong road and needs 
redeeming by God, who alone can redeem it as He 
first made it, and can give it the light and stimulus 
and direction by which alone it can recover itself 
and realize itself afresh. 1 

When I hear contemptuous rejections of the 
Biblical estimate of man as he is, as if it were dis- 
honouring to human dignity, I often think of the 
man who of all the characteristic spirits of the 
Renaissance had the profoundest genius as an 
interpreter of man our own great Shakespeare. 
No one ever had deeper interest in humanity or a 
higher estimate of man's capacity. 

" What a piece of work is a man ! how noble in reason ! 
how infinite in faculty ! in form and moving how express 
and admirable ! in action how like an angel ! in appre- 
hension how like a god ! the beauty of the world ! the 
paragon of animals ! " 

No one moreover ever contemplated humanity 
with less of the spirit of the prophet and the reformer. 
He was a typical man of the Renaissance. He 
stood utterly and marvellously aloof from the keen 

1 I find these suggestive words quoted from Dr. Joh. Weiss, 
Das Urchristenthum, p. 188 : " Strange as these things have become 
to us, we cannot too earnestly make ourselves familiar with the 
thought that the old Christianity understood the new life not 
merely as a new mode of thought and moral conduct, but as a 
wonderful equipment with new powers, the work of God." 


and bitter religious controversies of his time. He 
seems to know and care nothing about them. He 
would approach mankind, with all his unmatched 
genius for understanding and representing it, purely 
and simply as the spectator willing to be fascinated 
and delighted with humanity as he found it, " good 
and bad together." But, so approaching mankind, 
one fact about human life appears to arrest him 
and absorb him and terrify him the fact that 
men are not free, as they would boast themselves 
that they are enslaved by passion and obsessed by 
delusion. This note becomes conspicuous first per- 
haps in the somewhat morbid atmosphere of the 
Sonnets in the marvellous 129th Sonnet about lust, 
where he exclaims 

" The expense of spirit in a waste of shame 
Is lust in action." 

Then its violence and deceitfulness and its miserable 
issue is described with intense realization, and the 
sonnet ends : 

41 All this the world well knows ; yet none knows well 
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell." 

In the great tragedies this seems to become the 
one theme the obsession of men. It may be by 
lust, or by vanity, or by ambition, or by jealousy, 
or by pride and the contempt of common men ; 
it may be by the paralysis of too much thinking; 
but in all cases what is presented to us is the same 
spectacle of a man obsessed. All the world can 
see it except he himself. But he, obsessed, is also 
blinded, and so blinded is driven forward by an 
inevitable fate to his doom, and only by the violence 
of the tragedy can the stage of human life be set 
free again for life to go on its way. This spirit of 
the tragedies seems to possess Shakespeare. One 
of our best recent interpreters of Shakespeare 


Walter Raleigh * speaks as if even that mighty 
mind nearly lost its balance in gazing into the awful 
gulf. And he seems to have recovered himself in 
his last period that of the Romances by refusing 
to think any more about it. In one of his last 
utterances, in which the man himself seems to speak 
through Prospero's lips, he gives up human life as 
a riddle without an answer, a dream which has no 
eternal significance. Certainly he never shows any 
signs of becoming interested in the faith in divine 
redemption. But when I hear people reject St. 
Paul's estimate of human life as a piece of " morbid 
pathology," I think of Shakespeare and what he 
seems to have seen in his marvellous mirror. 

For myself I make my profession. I have tried 
honestly and freely to know myself and to study 
human life all around me and in the record of history ; 
and I know no interpretation of human life which is 
adequate both to the rays of glory which I see there 
and the encompassing gloom, except the estimate 
of the Bible. Man is made to be a king, but he is 
" a discrowned king " : and no one can put him 
again on the way of honour except his God who 
made him and would redeem him. 


The Christian idea of sin was not developed as 
a philosophy by reflection, but appeared as part of 
a teaching about God and man which claimed to 
be a divine message given that men might know how 
to live. Nevertheless it involves a philosophy in 
that it places the seat of sin in the will and finds 
its essence in disobedience or violation of a law known 
to be divine. So the Bible looks out upon a dis- 
ordered and miserable world and finds the secret 
of the disorder and misery simply in the refusal 

1 See his Shakespeare in " English Men of Letters," pp. 210-12. 


of God by men and other free spirits dimly seen in 
the background. 

So the nature of sin is vividly represented in the 
marvellous story of the fall of Adam and Eve, which 
dates, we should remember, before any of the 
prophets whose writings remain to us. So it is in 
the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms. So it is 
finally defined at the end of the New Testament 
period in the First Epistle of St. John in the phrase 
" Sin is lawlessness " the Greek words implying that 
the two terms are convertible that there is no sin 
which is not the breach of law by a rebel will, and 
nothing else in the world which breaks the law of its 
being except sin (1 John iii 4). It is this doctrine 
which gives its peculiar hopefulness to the Bible, in 
spite of its stern view of actual conditions. For 
there is nothing as God made it which is not good 
and meant to serve a good end. There is no evil 
substance. The grossest sins are but the misuse of 
faculties good in themselves. And however much 
evil habits may have engrained vice into our nature, 
let but the will be again replaced in love to God and 
obedience to His will and the whole nature can be 
recovered. That is the radical meaning of St. Paul's 
doctrine of justification by faith ; for faith as he 
uses it means the surrender of our being to God in 
Christ ; and when that is gained God can work 
freely upon us to accept and to renew. " All things 
work together for good to them that love God." 
Thus the world, if it were converted to God, would 
again become a paradise. And at the last issue all evil 
wills are to be either converted or subdued, and God 
is to come into His own again in His whole creation. 

This Biblical idea of sin may be put in contrast 
with three other explanations of it which challenged 
the Church at its beginning and still challenge it. 

(1) In the Hellenistic world in which Christianity 
spread, the prevalent tendency was to find the secret 


and source of sin in the flesh or in the material world. 
The spark of the divine, which is the soul of man, 
is imprisoned at present in the body with its corrupt- 
ing passions and influences, and is subjected to the 
mysterious tyranny of the material world. What it 
must hope for is to be released from the body and 
delivered from the material world, and so be free to 
resume its place in the pure being of God. And there 
were a hundred mysteries and doctrines which offered 
to secure to the initiated soul emancipation at last 
and passage into the divine. But Christianity stoutly 
resisted this tendency to fix the blame of sin in the 
wrong place. To believe that matter is evil and the 
source of sin whether as the creation of an evil or 
inferior God, or as something eternally existing and 
intractable is to despair of the world and of our 
present life in the body. 1 And the Christian's deter- 
mination to plant and promote the kingdom of God 
in the world and to consecrate to God every element 
in nature, including his own body, depends on the 
belief that there is nothing bad in the world but a 
bad will, and that man's body as well as his soul, 
and the whole material creation, are the subjects of 
divine redemption. 

2. It is opposed also to the more modern in- 
terpretation of sin, which came into fashion with 
the dominance of the idea of development, as im- 
perfection which is gradually being outgrown. It 
is " the tiger and the ape " still surviving in man, 
which are gradually being subdued to the spiritual 

1 The belief that the material is the evil accounts for the way in 
which the Gnostic movements, where this doctrine prevailed, swung 
between an extreme asceticism and an extreme license. To believe in 
matter as evil begets the desire to be as free from its bondage aa 
possible that is the source of oriental asceticism. But after all 
we cannot be free from the body. To eat and drink, in whatever 
moderation, is as bodily an action as drunkenness. So arises the 
idea that all bodily acts belong simply to the temporary envelope 
of the soul and are morally indifferent. And hence the rebound 
into license. 


or rational purpose. The history of man is the 
history of a gradual if slow and interrupted- 
progress towards perfection. There is, of course, 
an important element of truth in this conception. 
Certainly there is a great deal of evil which is ignor- 
ance and imperfection, which gradual enlightenment 
can cure and which itself affords the stimulus to 
progress. If we try to think of a comparatively 
sinless world and .what its development might have 
been, we should imagine it as gradually outgrowing 
its childish ignorance and youthful mistakes- as 
gradually gaining control, and passing on to per- 
fection in the maturity of its powers. But this is 
precisely to leave out the very thing which sin is. 
Sin is the refusal of allegiance to God and rebellion 
against the law of our true being. It is the selfish- 
ness which places our being and its efforts upon a 
false centre and so disorders our whole world. And 
sin, rightly so defined, shows not the slightest trace 
of being outgrown in the process of civilization. 
There is sin as much in modern London as in ancient 
Britain, though the sin is of a more or less different 
kind. Advanced civilization certainly presents a 
parody of the divine intention for man as much as 
barbarous societies. Progress no doubt represents 
the divine purpose, but the reason why progress 
has been so broken, so fragmentary, and so liable 
to reversals and catastrophes lies just in the thwart- 
ing, disturbing, destructive power of sin, from which 
neither education nor refinement of itself has the 
power to redeem. Perhaps to-day the kind of opti- 
mistic delusion that I have been describing is one 
into which we are less liable to be betrayed than our 
fathers or grandfathers. 

3. The Christian doctrine of sin is rooted in the 
conception of mankind as really free and responsible, 
and has its roots cut by the doctrine of determinism. 
According to this latter doctrine, all that has 


occurred in general or in detail has been at the 
last analysis inevitable. There is strictly nothing 
that need not and ought not to have been. The 
doctrine is so alien to fundamental human instincts 
that while it abounds in the schools of philosophy, 
it does not adventure itself much into the ways of 
common life. It could not, in fact, really apply 
itself to life without moral disaster. To believe 
that I am and always have been and always must 
be inevitably determined to do what I have done 
or shall do, would, beyond all question, as it appears 
to me, destroy the springs of moral action. I have 
endeavoured, in the previous volume, both strictly 
to limit the sphere of human freedom and to main- 
tain its reality, 1 and I will not recur to the subject 
here. I should like, however, to record a remark 
which I twice heard made by the late Master of 
Balliol, Dr. Jowett, which seems to me to be true. 
He noted that theologians like Augustine, and 
(strictly speaking) St. Thomas, and Calvin appeared 
to be able to maintain an ultimate and absolute 
determination of human actions by God, as a sort 
of remote mystery of religion, without its interfering 
with the practical moral appeal of Christianity. 
But he observed that it would not be so with modern 
scientific determinism. That is no remote mystery 
hidden in the inaccessible depths of the divine being 
and incomprehensible by men. It claims to be a 
requirement of science, its action is in the field of 
observed experience, and its effect is wholly in- 
telligible. It is to make all our sense of responsi- 
bility and personal guilt all that is really meant 
by the sense of sin an illusion and to establish the 
conviction that we cannot help being just what we 
are. I am thankful to believe that science is 

1 But I will call attention to what seems to me an admirable 
article in the Hibbert Journal for July 1922, by Captain H. V. 
Knox, entitled Is Determinism rational f 


becoming much more conscious of its limitations 
and may retreat from this truly irrational position. 


There is one difficulty presented by the Christian 
doctrine of sin which, since the principle of evolution 
entered into control of our imagination, has appeared 
and still appears as most formidable I mean the 
doctrine of the Fall. Christianity has not been 
content with asserting that men in general or 
universally have proved themselves individually 
sinners. It has attributed to humanity an organic 
unity, by descent from a common origin our first 
parents, Adam and Eve and has, in part at least, 
accounted for the prevalence of sin by attributing 
the disordering of human nature or its partial cor- 
ruption to the inherited effects of their fall, as it is 
described in Genesis. 1 There is hardly any allusion 

1 I am here only dealing with the doctrine of sin incidentally as 
involved in the doctrine of Christ's person. Thus (1) I am giving 
the go-by to all the questions raised about the exact nature and 
effect of the Fall whether positive or negative : and to the Augus- 
tinian and Calvinistic exaggerations : and to the Protestant con- 
ception of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity ; though 
I may remark in passing that I do not think any doctrine of imputa- 
tion can be legitimately attached to St. Paul except in the sense 
that God sees things not as they are but as they are becoming. 
This is the real way to see things. Thus faith is imputed as the 
righteousness it is not yet, because faith does, in fact, contain 
in itself the whole root or principle of righteousness, by retrans- 
ferring our nature to the allegiance of God in Christ ; and Christ's 
righteousness may be said to be imputed to us, though St. Paul 
does not say so, because as His members we are in Him and on the 
way to become more and more interpenetrated by Him. Non 
quales sumus sed quales futuri sumus Deus nos amat. 

(2) I am giving the go-by to many interesting questions con- 
nected with the Hebrew story of Paradise and the Fall, and its 
influence in later times. In this connection Ezek. xxviii, which 
suggests a different idea of paradise from Gen. iii, is very inter- 
esting. Also it is interesting that in the later apocalypses it would 
appear that that unique fragment of unassimilated mythology, 
Gen. vi 1-8, was exercising more influence than Gen. iii. But 
I am only concerned here with the idea of the Fall and of its conse- 
quences in general outline. 


in the other canonical books of the Old Testament to 
this primaeval fall, and though it became a subject 
of interest in the later Jewish schools and we see 
the fruit of this in the books we call " apocryphal," 
yet the ideas there presented are confused and con- 
tradictory; and there is nothing about the fall of 
Adam in the New Testament except in two 
famous passages of St. Paul's Epistles. But these 
two famous passages have exercised an enormous 
influence on theology, so that a modern Roman 
Catholic writer on dogmatics says, hardly with 
exaggeration, that " the whole dogmatic system of 
the Church revolves upon the two poles of sin and 
redemption, the old humanity and the new, Adam 
and Christ." 

The contradiction between the religious tradition 
and the scientific conception as popularly stated 
took this form that the Bible taught that mankind 
" began at the top " and fell from his high estate 
into continually deepening degradation from which 
only " the elect " are redeemed by the act of God, 
while science teaches that mankind began at the 
bottom in a brutish condition, hardly differentiated 
from the apes, and has gradually climbed upward 
by his own efforts through the period of some half 
a million years during which something \vhich can 
be identified as our race appears to have been on 
the earth. Here is a startling contradiction indeed. 
But the statement requires serious revision. It 
was only the imagination of theologians in a very 
unscientific age, and especially in England the in- 
fluence of Milton, which begat the idea of Adam and 
Eve as created in the full-blown glory of intellect 
and virtue. Genesis does not in any way suggest 
it. It suggests for Adam and Eve something like 
the complete ignorance, as well as the innocence, 
of childhood. All the beginnings of the arts appear 
after the fall, and in the line of Cain's descendants. 


And the story of Genesis iii makes almost no im- 
pression on the rest of the Old Testament, which 
is throughout the story of a divine purpose for man 
pursuing its gradual way to its goal, but constantly 
thwarted and baffled by human sin. This is the 
impression which the early Christian teachers 
received. They answered the question whether 
man was created perfect in the negative. " He was 
not created perfect, but only in a condition to attain 
or receive perfection." l So we may restate the 
position thus : " The Bible teaches that man was 
created free to correspond with a good purpose of 
God for him : and his advance towards the realiza- 
tion of his heritage of sovereignty in the world might 
have been inconceivably more glorious and un- 
impeded than it has been but for his constantly 
renewed and perpetuated disloyalty to God and 
disobedience to the law of his being. It is to this 
that his misery is due. And as he was made for 
constant dependence upon God, so he cannot hope 
to rescue himself out of his bondage, but only to be 
rescued by God when he will return to Him in 
penitence and surrender." Now I am not aware 
that such a revised statement brings us into any 
collision w r ith science. We must not speak as if 
science could bring human origins into the clear 
light. The emergence of the distinctively human 
faculties, and the place and the manner of such 
emergence, are still involved in impenetrable 

But this at least seems to some of us to be certain 
and to make a great difference between us and 
our grandfathers that we have ceased to be able 
to treat the story in Genesis as history at all. We 
see there neither a record preserved in human 

1 So Clement and, in effect, Irenaeus. The Fathers also knew 
that death was a law of the world before man ; and that man was 
created mortal by nature. 


tradition, nor a revealed history of what happened 
at the beginning. We are not disposed to think 
that mankind began in a single pair sharply differ- 
entiated from the lower animals. We find it very 
difficult to form any mental conception of how things 
happened " in the beginning." We are inclined 
to think that about the beginnings and endings of 
the world and of mankind about things which lie 
outside the possibility of experience or investiga- 
tion by us we can be taught only in parables or 
symbols. So we are ready to attach the highest 
value to the early chapters of the book of Genesis, 
taking the stories they contain as symbols, not 
history. We see in them the clearest traces of 
divine inspiration. We see there true ideas about 
God and His mind about the world and man's 
relation jto the world and his relation to God, about 
the origin and nature of sin and its consequences, 
and about God's dealings with man both in judgment 
and mercy all so vividly expressed that a child can 
understand them and the imagination of mankind 
can never get rid of them. 

But, granted all this, we need to ask ourselves 
whether the language of St. Paul about the effect 
of the sin of Adam in letting loose the forces of death, 
and constituting mankind sinful, can still be used by 
us ; and whether generally the idea of the Fall and the 
antithesis of the Old Adam and the New has still 
really for us the equivalent of its old meaning. 
I think so in this sense. 

1. Sin i.e. disobedience to God and the law of 
our being- essentially and always is a fall. In- 
directly it may be through sin that we make dis- 
| coveries about ourselves and the world. So sin 
! may be a condition of progress. But not a necessary 
j condition. We could have gained the fruit of the 
tree of knowledge without sin, for sin is always a 
perversion and a loss. It puts us in a wrong relation 


to ourselves and to our fellows and to God. Every- 
where, in all its forms, and in every case sin is law- 
lessness and therefore is a fall. We are fallen by 
our iniquity. Thus Adam and Eve stand for every 
man and woman, and the story of their fall is the 
true story of humanity and of what has been its 
ruin in every individual case. And over against the 
Old Adam, which is sinful humanity, stands the Last 
Adam, which is tke sinless humanity. Thus in Jesus 
Christ I see humanity both restored to its true basis 
and its true relations, and not only restored but per- 
fected in God. And I apprehend the true character 
of my redemption only when I grasp it as a radical 
transference of my fundamental allegiance, and so 
of my whole being, from the stock of the Old Adam 
to that of the New. 

2. I do not think we shall be driven to accept a 
merely individual account of sin. I do not think 
that more accurate science will make us hesitate to 
say with the Psalmist, " In sin hath my mother con- 
ceived me." Whatever science ultimately teaches as 
to the " monophyletic " or " polyphyletic " origin 
of mankind, I think it will continue to authorize us 
to regard mankind as constituting one race which 
can be dealt with, whether barbarous or civilized, 
as having certain fundamentally identical spiritual 
capacities that is, intelligence (as distinct from in- 
stinct), the moral conscience, and some measure of 
moral freedom, capacity in some measure for en- 
larging fellowship and progress, and capacity for God. 
It appears to me that anthropology and the science 
of religions work on the basis of the assumption that 
humanity of all periods and in all countries is one 
race, and continually tend to justify the assumption. 

Further, it seems to me that psychology tends to 
emphasize what is the Christian tradition that a 
man's soul, or self, is not purely individual. He is an 
individual with the responsibilities of an individual, 


and progress towards the ideal will deepen and in- 
tensify his individuality. But that mysterious and 
elusive thing he calls himself carries within it elements 
and qualities which are inherited and not personal, 
and which make him the representative of something 
much wider and much older than his individual self 
of his family, his race, nay of humanity as a 
whole. In his unconscious mind he carries (so it 
appears) instincts and memories which are racial 
and not personal. If this is so, it would be very bold 
to deny that there may be, or must be, some in- 
heritance of sin, in its weakening and perverting 
effect upon the spiritual nature, in those roots of 
our being which lie below the beginnings of personal 
consciousness. 1 

In this book I am only concerned to justify a 
certain attitude towards man, as fallen and needing 
to be redeemed, which appears to be inseparable 
from the appeal of Christianity which appears to 
have been the attitude of Christ HiiPself. This 
appeal takes shape in St. Paul's language which bids 
us die to the Old Manhood that we may live in the 
New. It treats us as belonging to an old manhood 
the Old Adam which is corrupt according to the 
deceitful lusts, and would have us regenerated or 
grafted upon a new stock the sinless humanity of 
the Second Man. It would have us believe that by 
natural inheritance our old manhood came to us 

1 I think it is important to note that " original sin " is a fault 
or defect or disorder in our inherited nature, which admits of more 
or less. One man's nature is more disordered to start with than 
another's. And the fault or defect can be diminished by self- 
restraint or deepened by indulgence. Also, it is important to notice 
that there is nothing in the New Testament which justifies our 
using the word " guilt " of this inherited taint. No doubt it 
disqualifies us as it stands for the fellowship of God ; but nothing 
is guilty except the action of a rebellious will. The defect of 
nature in itself is an appeal to the divine compassion to redeem us, 
not an occasion of His wrath against the individual personally. 



more or less weakened and impaired by Adam's sin, 
but that it admits of being restored and renewed in 
Christ. No doubt St. Paul believed in Adam as a 
person and we cannot easily do so. Nevertheless, 
I think that there is very little or nothing in St. Paul's 
language which will not hold good for us if we take 
the Old Adam, not as an historical person, but as 
the symbol of our race as it has made itself by sin, to 
which by our birth and natural tradition we belong. 
And there is no force in the strange argument that if 
the First Adam is symbolical, so may be the Second. 
We are driven to treat the first as symbolical because 
we cannot penetrate the mists of ages. But the 
Christ stands in the light of history. We know that 
He understands our nature, and we believe He has 
the will and the power to redeem it. 

In the volume which preceded this I have dealt 
with the New Testament accounts of the Birth of 
Jesus as from a Virgin and therefore miraculous. 
I have there endeavoured to make it plain that 
this history was not the product of any theological 
demand. It shows in both its forms both in St. 
Matthew and St. Luke the signs of a date far 
earlier than any such theological or Christological 
development as would have made the demand effec- 
tive. I have given what seem to me sufficient 
reasons for trusting the story ; and I can only refer 
my readers back to what was said there. But I have 
also pointed out that already in the Fourth Gospel, 
where the story in the Synoptists is no doubt assumed 
as familiar, Christ's birth of a virgin appears to be 
referred to as lying behind and interpreting our new 
birth. St. John, that is, here as elsewhere, assumes 
what is in substance St. Paul's doctrine of the Second 
Adam ; and he suggests that the miraculous con- 
ditions of the birth were appropriate or necessary 
for the incarnate person who is to be fount of the 
new sonship. I cannot but repeat here that what 


St. John suggests and the Church has emphasized 
does appear to me to hold good, viz. that any one 
who grasps the contrast between the sinless Christ 
and the sinful world the world in which the greatest 
saints are the most conscious of their sinfulness 
and who accepts Christ as the Second Adam, the 
new creation in which our manhood is renewed, so 
far from finding a difficulty in the Virgin Birth of 
Jesus will welcome it as in the highest degree accept- 
able and congruous in His case, if not rationally 
necessary. 1 

1 For all this see Belief in God, pp. 274-82, and Dissertations, 
pp. 63 ff. See also in this volume, p. 120, and note 1, for St. John's 
reference (in cap. i. 13) to the Virgin Birth as the basis of our 



THE idea of atonement made by our Lord for man 
in the sacrifice of the cross is so prominent an element 
in the faith of the New Testament and of the whole 
Christian Church, that it cannot be ignored in any 
comprehensive treatment of the faith in His person. 
It has found a welcome as wide and deep as possible 
in human hearts all down the ages ; but it has also 
presented peculiar difficulty to the intellect. What 
is attempted in this chapter is simply to fix attention 
upon the central idea of the Atonement, as the New 
Testament presents it to us upon the background of 
the Old, and to rid it of certain misunderstandings 
which have been allowed to pervert it. Then I 
should wish to leave my readers with the feeling 
This, at least, is part of the faith in Christ to which 
my heart and my reason respond. 1 

Let us seek to clear the air by certain preliminary 

1. It is plain that the redemption of man through 
Jesus Christ, which the New Testament has for its 
theme, is a complex process which admits of being 
regarded in various aspects or from different angles. 

1 It must be remarked that while the Church did in fact define 
the doctrine of the person of Christ, it left the doctrine of atonement 
quite undefined. 



Hence there are marked differences in the points of 
view of the different books. But they all agree 
among themselves and with the books of the Old 
Testament in one point : that ultimately redemption 
can mean one thing only the actual restoration of 
men into the moral likeness of God. The kingdom 
of God, which is the theme alike of the Old Testament 
and of the New, is to be a perfected fellowship of man 
with God and of man with man ; and there can be 
no fellowship of man with God " except they be 
agreed " that is, except they be of the same mind 
or character ; and there can be no fellowship of 
man with man unless they come together in obedience 
to God and correspondence with His purposes. 

Men are prone to superstition ; and the best 
definition of superstition is religion which is non- 
moral. And there has been a great deal of super- 
stition not only in the religions of the world generally, 
but also among the Jews and in Christendom, both 
Catholic and Protestant. Wherever men have 
attributed some kind of power to racial privilege, 
or to orthodox belief, or to sacraments or charms, 
or to the prayers of intercessors, which can in any 
sort of w r ay be a substitute for actual conversion 
of will for ceasing to do evil and learning to do 
well; wherever men have proclaimed or believed in 
Christ's atonement, or His righteousness " imputed 
to us," as if it could be made available for us without 
our being personally changed from evil to good 
there is superstition ; and the teaching of the prophets 
and of Christ is on no point more emphatic than 
in condemnation of this sort of superstition. No 
expedient or device can exist for bringing us into 
the favour of God except by our becoming actually 
godlike. " In the rich pharmacopoeia of heaven, 
there can exist none such." To be and to remain 
unlike God in character must exclude us from the 
fellowship of God, however correct our beliefs and 


elaborate our ritual acts ; and, conversely, the Bible 
as a whole encourages us to believe that there is 
no external or accidental barrier, whether in the 
way of intellectual error or hereditary ignorance, 
which can ultimately exclude from God and His 
kingdom any man who is really a man of good will. 
Heaven is nothing else but the home of the godlike ; 
and hell is nothing else but the state of those who 
have made themselves, by their own faults, radically 
incompatible with God. There is no substitute for a 
good will, and no compensation for a bad one. Thus 
whatever place vicarious atonement, made for us 
by our Redeemer, may hold in the scheme of the 
Bible, we must expect it to conform to this funda- 
mental demand for real, personal righteousness. 

2. " My song," says the Psalmist, " shall be of 
mercy and judgment." Such is the theme of the 
Old Testament and of the New God's inevitable 
wrath on the hard and impenitent heart, and His 
abounding mercy on the repentant. God is for- 
giving, as being both willing and able to efface 
sins however heinous. " Though your sins be as 
scarlet, they shall be white as snow ; and though 
they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." 
But only repentance that is the change of heart and 
will can change the face of God towards us. " Wash 
you, make you clean ; put away the evil of your 
doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil ; 
learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the 
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow." 
Such is the constant theme of the prophetic message. 
And it is the theme of our Lord's teaching also. 

We find Him asserting the forgivingness of God 
towards the penitent in the most moving language, 
both parabolic and simple. It is as expressing the 
Father's mind that He came " to seek and save that 
which was lost." And we note the stress He lays 
on the necessity of a changed heart. That is the 


only evidence that a man is really forgiven. So 
the unthankful servant in the parable 1 finds that 
his acquittal, though it had been formal and valid, 
is invalidated by his showing himself still quite 
hard-hearted. And on the other hand the woman 
that was a sinner proves that she has been forgiven 
by the generosity of her devotion to Christ. 2 Where 
such love is, forgiveness must have already been 
given. Here we have the teaching of the prophets 
intensified. God certainly needs no propitiation to 
make Him willing to forgive ; and nothing is 
needed by the individual to secure his forgiveness 
by God but the contrite heart which responds to 
His love. 

8. All this teaching about God we are surely 
meant to apply to the relations of God to all men 
individually, in whatever ignorance of God they 
may have been nurtured, for it expresses funda- 
mental principles of His being. Nevertheless, the 
constant assumption of the Bible from Genesis to 
Revelation is that men need something besides 
true ideas about God. They need an activity of 
divine power to rescue them from a hopeless con- 
dition into which rebellion against God has plunged 
them, and this activity of God is what is called 
redemption. The Bible is a history of divine re- 
demption, and it is only in the process of redemption 
that the disclosure of the real character of God is 
made. As has been shown in the previous chapter, 
no one can understand the Bible, Old Testament or 
New, whose imagination is not filled with this con- 
ception of man as needing to be not enlightened 
only but redeemed. 

And further this method of divine redemption, 

though its ultimate aim is universal, proceeds 

through the election of one people, Israel, to be the 

redeemed people ; and when in the New Testament 

1 Matt, xviii 21-35. 2 Luke vii 47. 


the Church or people of God is freed from all national 
restrictions, nevertheless it is the society, and not 
barely the individual, which is both the subject and 
the instrument of divine redemption. The method 
of divine redemption is corporate. No doubt this 
is to trench upon the topic of the Church, with which 
we are not concerned in this volume. Nevertheless, 
it is in its most general sense hardly open to doubt ; 
and it must in some sort be here taken for granted 
because the idea of atonement has its roots through- 
out in this corporate method of redemption. 

4. This is indisputably so in the Old Testament. 
God made a covenant with the people of Israel as a 
whole, and the covenant was inaugurated and per- 
petuated in sacrifice, the sacrifices of bulls and goats, 
as being in some sense representatives of the people 
or substitutes for the men who offered them. The 
sacrificial system expressed their allegiance as a 
people to God and His law, and the fear wherewith 
they were to fear Him. The customs of sacrifice 
date from a time when the people had no under- 
standing of the moral character of God, and the 
early prophets appear simply to deride them as 
worthless. But later, through the teaching of the 
unknown prophet of Deuteronomy and the mission 
of Ezekiel, the spirit of prophecy and the law of 
the sacrifices were conciliated. Thereafter the sacrifi- 
cial system is made to express Israel's constant need 
of walking with awe before the face of the righteous 
God and making constant atonement for its corporate 
and individual sins ; not for its high-handed sins of 
rebellion and defiance of God, for which the sacrifices 
did not avail, 1 but for its sins of carelessness and 
ignorance. Of course the consciousness never left 
the deeper minds in Israel that " the blood of bulls 
and of goats " could not really " take away sin." 
Nevertheless, the temple worship nourished in the 
1 See Epistles of St. John, pp. 209 ff. 


heart of Israel a deep sense of its constant need of 
propitiation. There is no question of this. What 
is questioned is whether this whole system was not 
by Christ ignored and abolished as meaningless 
whether in His eyes it pointed on to anything which 
He was to fulfil and not to abolish. 

5. Our Lord would appear to have said nothing 
about the temple sacrifices. He denounces the 
Pharisaic tradition as a misuse of authority and a 
perversion of religion. But He said not a word 
against the sacrificial system. Presumably He ac- 
cepted it as a divine institution though imperfect. 
But He positively attached Himself to something 
in the Old Testament the prophecy of the Righteous 
Servant which gave a wholly different idea of 
vicarious sacrifice and propitiation on behalf of the 
nation. The Righteous Servant in Is. liii is repre- 
sented as inaugurating the new Israel of the Restora- 
tion by the vicarious sacrifice of himself. 1 He in 
his innocence bearing the sins of the people offers 
his life as a guilt -offer ing to God. And God accepts 
the offering the offering of the one for " the many." 
The righteous victim of unrighteousness becomes 
the effective intercessor for " the many " ; and they, 
for his sake forgiven and by his knowledge and 
instruction made righteous, constitute the restored 
Israel. He sees in them the travail of his soul and 
is satisfied. 

This moving picture of vicarious sacrifice appears 
to have made strangely little impression upon the 
later literature of Israel. But we perhaps have a 
reflection of it though it suggests a lower conception 
of God in the heroic self-oblation of the Maccabean 
martyr to expiate the wrath of God upon his nation. 
His six brothers have been martyred in the persecu- 
tion of Antiochus, in presence of the tyrant and of 
their mother, who stands by and exhorts them to 
1 See above, pp. 59 ff. 


constancy. Then the youngest, who has seen all 
his brothers tortured and killed, makes his brave 
profession, before he follows them : " These our 
brethren, having endured a short pain that bringeth 
everlasting life, have now died under God's covenant ; 
but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive 
in just measure the penalties of thine arrogancy. 
But I, as my brethren, give up both body and soul 
for the laws of our fathers, calling upon God that 
He may speedily become gracious to our nation ; 
and that thou amidst trials and plagues mayest con- 
fess that He alone is God ; and that in me and my 
brethren the wrath of the Almighty may be stayed, 
which hath been justly brought upon our whole 


Whether we have here a reflection of the thought 
of the later Isaiah or no, we cannot, without a quite 
arbitrary rejection of well-authenticated texts, doubt 
that our Lord identifies Himself with the Righteous 
Servant, 2 and this means that He sees Himself as the 
inaugurator of the New Israel, and knows that by His 
voluntary death, on behalf of the people, He is to 
make propitiation for their sins. Both the crucial 
texts are, as has been said, stamped with the mark 
of their origin by the expression " for many." The 
first (Mark x 45, Matt, xx 28) is the phrase " The 
Son of man came ... to give his life a ransom for 
many." The actual words used only lay stress upon 
the price of His life which He must pay to set His 
people free. The idea of an offering for sin made to 
God lies in the prophecy referred to rather than in the 

1 2 Mace, vii 36-8. In 4 Mace, vi 28-9 (an Alexandrian book) 
the martyr Eleazer is represented as praying " Be propitious to 
thy race, being satisfied by our punishment for them. Make my 
blood an expiation (xaddpaiov), and my life (tyvxr)v) a substitute 
(avrtyvxov) for theirs." And the author concludes (xvii 22) 
that " through the blood of these pious men and their propitiatory 
death, the divine providence saved Israel." 

2 See above, p. 61, where the point is argued. 


words taken by themselves. 1 The other passage, at 
the Last Supper, is much more explicit : " This is my 
blood of the covenant, which is shed for many," 2 or 
" This cup is the new covenant in my blood." 3 These 
phrases suggest unmistakably a reference not only to 
the sacrificial death of the Righteous Servant " for 
many," but also to the sacrifices of animal victims 
which inaugurated the covenant of Sinai, " Behold 
the blood of the covenant." 4 This is our Lord's 
only reference to the animal sacrifices of the Old 
Covenant ; and He declares that the New Covenant 
is to be inaugurated also in blood the blood of His 
own self-sacrifice, by which the many are to be given 
their new standing-ground before God. In winning 
this new standing for His people, He, we should 
gather, is their vicarious representative. He is acting 
for them, without any co-operation on their part. 

There is here no contradiction of the teaching, so 
often given by our Lord, of the free forgiveness of 
sins by the Father wherever He sees a penitent 
heart. But it supplements it. God is still to deal 
with men, not as isolated individuals, but as a people. 
It is the new Israel which is being inaugurated, and 

1 The figure of the " ransom," by suggesting the thought of a 
bandit or tyrant who held the prisoners, became the basis of the 
strange theory, common in early and mediaeval days, of a trans- 
action between Christ and the devil, in which the devil, by putting 
Christ to death, took more than his " rights " of the Sinless One, 
and so had no further claim on men. But we can never rightly 
press either a metaphor or a parable beyond the special point of 
comparison in this case the greatness of the price needed to set 
men free. It was by a similar misuse of a metaphor that 
" propitiation " was made to suggest that God's mind towards 
man needed to be changed, on which see below, p. 295. 

2 Mark xiv 24. St. Matthew adds (xxvi 28) " unto remission 
of sins." 

3 This is the phrase used in the earliest account of the Last 
Supper which St. Paul received "from the Lord," doubtless 
through the older apostles. 

* Exod. xxiv 8. In other passages of the New Testament the 
sacrifice of Christ is regarded as fulfilling the Passover, the Day of 
Atonement, and the Sin Offering (see Sanday and Headlam, Romans, 
p. 92). 


the new Israel must be inaugurated in sacrifice not 
now the sacrifice of animal victims of which God had 
no need, but the self-sacrifice of the Man, which 
knows no limits and goes even to offering His life- 
blood. That is the basis of the New Covenant. 

6. If we are to trust the Fourth Gospel, we must 
believe that John the Baptist had anticipated this 
function of the Christ when he called Him " the 
Lamb of God which taketh away (removeth by 
expiating) the sins of the world." But whether or 
no " the critic " can bring himself to trust the Fourth 
Gospel at this point, he must acknowledge that the 
expiation wrought by the self-sacrificing death of 
Christ is taken for granted in the whole of the New 
Testament which looks back upon Him. It is taken 
for granted in the first Jerusalem Church, as appears 
when St. Philip interprets of Jesus the sacrificial 
language of Is. liii. It is implied when baptism " in 
the name of " Jesus or "by calling on His name " 
appears as the condition of the forgiveness of sins ; 
for this means that His merit alone avails for re- 
mission l ; and this belief pervades the New Testa- 
ment. It is in popular estimation specially attri- 
buted to St. Paul. But it was already in " the 
tradition " as St. Paul received it at his conversion. 2 
He places it, no doubt, in a special light, but that 
is all. On this special light, however, in which St. 
Paul views the doctrine of Atonement we must say 
a word. 

7. St. Paul, then, especially in the Epistle to the 
Galatians, is occupied with the claim of the Judaizers 
who would have insisted on the perpetual obligation 
upon Christians of the Jewish Law, as represented by 
the rite of circumcision. And still in the Epistle to 

1 Acts ii 38, viii 16, 32-5, x 43, 46. 

8 1 Cor. xv 3, " That which also I received, that Christ died for 
our sins according to the scriptures." See Dr. Rashdall, The Idea 
of Atonement in Christian Theology ; quoted below, p. 303. 


the Romans their claim occupies the foreground. As 
against such a claim he represents the Jewish Law as 
a temporary expedient to convict the Jews of sin 
and to prepare them for Christ. This conviction of 
sin he presses to the full. The Jews, no less than the 
Gentiles, find themselves involved in sin and unable 
to endure the tremendous judgment of God. They 
need to be saved. They cannot save themselves. 
God must save them. And that is what He has done 
in Christ. It is a salvation full and perfect that God 
has provided for men in Christ, and which the apostles 
are sent into the world to proclaim, and it is wholly 
the work of God in Christ, an act of divine grace and 
good favour which man has not merited, and to the 
accomplishment of which he contributes nothing. 
On the whole, St. Paul never leaves us in any doubt 
that the salvation which is offered us of God's free 
bounty is nothing else than real deliverance from the 
power of sin into actual goodness or moral freedom, 
by the full co-operation of all our powers with the 
purpose of God. But in the beginning of the Epistle 
to the Romans, which Protestantism has unduly 
isolated from the whole of St. Paul, he presses to 
the full even to the point of letting it appear 
arbitrary the initial stage of the divine "plan 
of redemption " that is, the new status the ac- 
quittal (" justification ") or forgiveness of sins- won 
for us by the " propitiation " of Christ. Wholly 
without any regard to our merits or our demerits, 
wholly out of the bounty of His free grace, without 
any co-operation of ours, God has provided in Him 
who is the Head of the New Race, the Second Adam, 
Jesus Christ, a " making amends " for all the guilty 
past. His unqualified sacrifice of Himself unto 
death and the shedding of His blood' is accepted as 
something which sets free the love of God to flow 
out in the full stream of redemptive bounty. Let a 
man, Jew or Gentile, only believe that is, let him 




surrender himself to God in Christ and accept His 
grace, in utter humility and the response of faith to 
love and he is acquitted, wholly without regard 
to the magnitude and multitude of his sins. He 
is given a fresh start, a fresh status in Christ of 
which baptism is the instrument to live the new 
life of sonship to God and brotherhood in the com- 
munity of the redeemed, the Church. 

On St. Paul's special teaching about the Atonement 
I must make two remarks. 

(1) St. Paul least of all men admits of being judged 
by single texts. He does not guard himself in argu- 
ment. He must be judged on the whole. And so 

Judged, there is no possibility of questioning that 
St. Paul meant by faith a moral response and not 
merely an intellectual acceptance. It is self-sur- 
render ; it is the response of will to love ; it is love 
inchoate. He explicitly says (within a year of writing 
the Epistle to the Romans) that faith which does not 
involve love is worthless. 1 He always assumes that 
faith involves baptism, and baptism is entrance into 
the new life. He never contemplates belief without 
discipleship. 2 This becomes overwhelmingly clear in 
the epistles of the captivity. But it is clear from the 
time when he wrote to the Thessalonians. Only in 
his Epistle to the Romans, he is determined to make 
men see their own worthlessness apart from God- 
that their only hope is in Him and His unmerited 
grace and that the salvation won for them was, 
in its initial stage, an act done wholly without their 
co-operation and for them. 

(2) The reason suggested by St. Paul, quite inci- 
dentally, why God should have needed such a 
44 propitiation " before He could let the proclama- 

1 1 Cor. xiii 2 ; cf. Gal. v 6. 

a I think Dr. Rashdall, op. cit. p. 116, is justified in saying that 
" at bottom the Catholic theory of justification finds more support 
in St. Paul, and is far nearer his real thought, than the Protestant 
theory in its strict traditional form." 


tion of His free-flowing grace go forth among man- 
kind, is apparently 1 that it was necessary to safe- 
guard the reality of the divine righteousness at the 
moment when it was showing itself as mercy. This 
is secured if the act which is the instrument and 
occasion of divine acquittal is an act which placards 
before men's eyes the awful price by which their 
redemption was bought. But we will return upon 
this suggestion. 2 

8. It is remarkable that, though St. Paul won 
an undisputed victory over the Judaizers, yet his 
special arguments in the Galatians and the Romans 
about the relation of law to grace, and about justi- 
fication by faith, produced little impression upon 
the Church as a whole. Part of this argument was 
taken up in a perverted form by Marcion ; much 
of it again by St. Augustine. But it did not generally 
colour the theology of the Church. On the other 
hand, the doctrine of atonement won by the self- 
sacrifice of Christ, or the shedding of His blood, 
is equally present as a central point of faith in almost 
all the books of the New Testament, 3 and in the 
Church as a whole. 

It is the recurrent theme of the First Epistle of 
Peter that that which " redeemed " the Church was 
a ransom of infinite value " precious blood, as of 
a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the 
blood of Christ " (1 Pet. i 18, 19)" because Christ 
suffered for you " (ii 21) " bare our sins in his 

1 Rom. iii 25-6. 

1 On special phrases of St. Paul, see appended note B, p. 304. 

3 It does not happen to be mentioned in the very brief Epistle 
of Jude, nor in the Epistle of St. James, which is purely ethical. 
But even here I think Dr. Hort is probably right in translating 
St. James v 6 (cf. iv 4) " Ye condemned, ye murdered, the Righteous 
One. Is He not become your adversary ? " If so, " the Righteous 
One " is probably a reference to Is. liii ; cf. Acts iv 13-14, " Jesus 
his servant, the holy and righteous one," whom " ye killed." And 
this would probably indicate that the idea of Atonement through 
the Righteous Servant's death lay in the background of James's 


body upon the tree " (ii 24) " suffered for sins 
once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might 
bring us to God " (iii 18). 

Again the point of view of the great Alexandrian 
teacher who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews is 
that of the High Priesthood of Christ. For, pre- 
existing as the Son of God, He took our nature, 
soul and body, that in our nature, but with more 
than human po\\ r er, even in eternal spirit, He might 
offer to God the perfect sacrifice for sins, even Him- 
self the sacrifice of perfect obedience consummated 
in the shedding of His blood and so enter into the 
heavenly places to be our High Priest, our effectual 
intercessor, and to " cleanse our consciences from 
dead works to serve the living God." Here again 
the whole status of the Church is made to depend 
upon the sacrifice of the cross. 

Again in the Apocalypse the same dominant idea 
reappears in the new song of the redeemed which 
the heavenly beings sing to " the Lamb standing 
as it had been slain in the midst of the throne." 
" Thou wast slain and didst purchase unto God 
with thy blood men of every tribe and tongue and 
people and nation, and madest them to be unto our 
God a kingdom and priests." Here again it is to 
the sacrifice of the cross that the status of Christians 
as a body is attributed. And finally in St. John's 
Gospel, though very little is said about atonement, 
yet Jesus must die for the people of God before He 
can save it and enlarge it (xi 51, 52), and in the 
First Epistle, "He is the propitiation for our sins, 
and not for ours only, but also for the whole world 
(1 John ii 2 ; cf. iv 10). It appears to have been 
a subject, like the final " coming " of Jesus, which 
St. John thought was sufficiently familiar in the 
common tradition of the Church, so that he could 
lay his emphasis where it was more needed. But 
he plainly took it for granted. 



This book is not a treatise on the Atonement, 
and it would lengthen it unduly if I were to attempt 
to review the history of the doctrine in the Christian 
Church. The most learned recent analysis of this 
history which we have is Dr. Rashdall's. He is 
quite right in calling attention to the extent to 
which the moral appeal of the death of Christ is 
emphasized by the Fathers and schoolmen, and to 
which the aspect of atonement in the work of Christ 
is, by some theologians, merged in the general doctrine 
of the Incarnation and its effects. But he labours 
in vain, as it seems to me, to dislodge from its position 
in the Christian tradition the belief which, as we 
have seen, is so prominent and indisputable through- 
out the New Testament that, prior to all appropria- 
tion by men, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, 
of the fruits of the Incarnation, there had been on 
the part of Christ, as the Redeemer of men and 
the Inaugurator of the New Manhood, a sacrifice 
offered to the Father, a sacrifice of obedience unto 
the shedding of His blood, in virtue of which God 
was enabled freely to justify, or acquit, those who 
belong to Him, and to give them a new standing 
ground as sons of God and members of Christ. 
Everything in the New Testament appears to depend 
on this initial sacrifice of atonement, reconciliation, 
and propitiation. 

I do not, as I have said, propose to follow the 
various theories w r hich by Origen and Leo, by Abelard, 
by Anselm, by the Calvinists, by Dale and Denney, 
by McLeod Campbell and Moberly, have been elabo- 
rated to explain the Atonement and account for its 
necessity. But in no district of theology is the 
contrast so marked between the hesitating and 
critical attitude displayed towards these intellectual 


theories of atonement which individual scholars 
have striven to formulate, and the whole-hearted 
acceptance of the fact by the great body of the 
faithful in all ages. Everywhere where Christianity 
has spread animal sacrifices, and indeed everything 
which men had been accustomed to call sacrifices, 
have ceased, because in becoming Christians men 
have learned about the one, full, perfect and sufficient 
sacrifice, which renders all others needless and gives 
to the idea of sacrifice a new meaning. The popular 
appeal made by the Eucharist or Mass in Catholic 
Christendom is more than half to be accounted for 
by the fact that there, by universal acknowledgment, 
is presented to God, as covering all our approach to 
Him, the one availing sacrifice. It is a quite modern 
hymn which bids us pray : 

" And now, O Father ! mindful of the love 
That bought us, once for all, on Calvary's tree, 
And having with us Him that pleads above, 
We here present, we here spread forth to Thee 
That only offering perfect in Thine eyes, 
The one true, pure, immortal sacrifice/' 

It is a modern hymn, but it expresses in language 
at once devout and accurate what the heart of the 
worshipping Church throughout the world has 
believed and welcomed with adoring love : and the 
whole purport of the hymn-singing of Protestant 
Christendom, and the whole strength of the appeal 
of revivalist preaching, has witnessed to the un- 
dying power of the doctrine of the Atonement. It 
is hard to believe that anything not grounded in 
truth could have made such an appeal and received 
such a world-wide welcome. We isolate ourselves 
from the " general heart of man " if we ignore its 
power or deny its necessity. The instinct which 
welcomes it has its roots in Hebrew Scriptures, 
but it has its roots also in the various theologies 


of almost every non-Christian tradition. The beliefs 
may be crude or barbaric, 1 just as the later theories 
of atonement in the Christian Church may be morally 
or intellectually unsatisfying; but it is almost im- 
possible to believe that God is at work in all the 
widespread instincts of men without also feeling that 
the instinct which has led men to seek in sacrifice 
atonement with God is a divine instinct, which 
Christianity must have expressed and satisfied if it 
was to be what it claims to be the religion for all 

What I propose to do is to consider the chief 
moral and intellectual scandals which have been 
found in our time in the doctrine of the Atonement 
as commonly preached, to see whether they really 
belong to its essence, or to its scriptural presenta- 
tion : and then to consider whether we can find such 
a rationale of the doctrine as shall make it welcome 
to our intellects as well as our hearts. 

1. First, then, let us recognize that any pre- 
sentations of the doctrine which suggest any difference 
of mind or disposition towards men between the 
Father and the Son- which represent the Father 
as Justice demanding punishment for sin and the 
Son as Mercy, pleading with Justice and satisfying 
it by offering itself as an innocent victim in place 
of the guilty are radically unscriptural. In the 
New Testament, quite constantly, the mind of the 
Father is declared to be towards men purely good 
the mind of love and the cost of the sacrifice is 
represented as the Father's no less than the Son's. 
" God so loved the world that he gave his only- 

1 The story of the sacrifice of Iphigeneia to Artemis, to procure 
good sailing for the Greek fleet, is taken as the type of the belief 
in sacrifice at its worst, but it is interesting to see how Euripides 
(in the Iphigeneia in Aulis] half moralizes the story by making 
Iphigeneia offer herself voluntarily for the cause of Greece, and by 
making Artemis save her and carry her to Tauris, substituting for 
her an animal victim, as in the Bible story. 


begotten Son " 1 - " spared not his own Son, but 
delivered him up for us all." 2 Wherever we find 
the necessity for the sacrificial death to lie, we must 
utterly refuse to find it in anything in the Father's 
mind making Him unwilling to forgive, or distin- 
guishing in any way His mind in the matter from 
Christ's. The essential wrath of God over sin is 
Christ's as much as the Father's, and the pardoning 
mercy the Father's as much as Christ's. It is a 
great step to get this fully and utterly recognized. 
'It emancipates the Christian doctrine from the most 
revolting aspect of propitiatory sacrifice, as it is 
found all the world over and in the earlier stages 
of the Old Testament. And there is no doubt that 
the New Testament excludes it. 

2. Secondly, we need to distinguish the ideas of 
vicarious sacrifice and vicarious punishment 3 ; and 
I think we shall find that "we can repudiate the 
second while we welcome the first. We can do this 
by appealing to the facts. All that came upon 
Christ in the way of suffering came simply from His 
life of obedience and sympathy. He never sought 
pain, 4 as if to witness pain would please the Father, 
or taught men to seek pain, except so far as service 
and self-discipline involve it. All that He suffered 
came simply out of His obedience to His Father's 
mission, and of His speaking the truth and rebuking 
sin ; out of His standing stoutly against wickedness 
in high places, and out of His boundless sympathy 
with men. This constituted His mission. " He 
rode out because of the word of truth and meekness 
and righteousness." And as the world was, it 
brought Him to His death. There is not anything 
here which suggests any " punishment " devised 

1 John iii 16 ; cf. 1 John iv 10, " Herein is love . . . that . . . 
God . . . sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 

* Rom. viii 32. 

8 See Rashdall, op. cit. pp. 98-9, 151. 

* Except in the minor form of the voluntary fast in the wilderness. 


by the Father for the Son. All that is said of the 
Father is that He did not interfere to spare His son 
that He let sin take its course, and show its real 
nature in this supreme example. The Father, in 
the divine providence that governs the world, made 
our sins and the sins which crucified Christ were 
the normal sins of men light upon Him, in exactly 
the same sense as all the world over the sins of men 
are vicariously borne by their victims the sins of 
parents by their children, of children by their parents, 
of rulers by their people, and of people by their 
pastors. The Father simply sent the Son into the 
world, and under the normal action of its moral laws, 
and did not interfere. 

There was a horrible story of that unhappy boy 
Edward VI having a whipping companion attached 
to him ; and when the young king did wrong the 
child - companion was said to be vicariously, and 
doubtless very unwillingly, whipped. And divines 
were so misguided as to quote this outrageous instance 
of substituted punishment as an illustration of the 
Atonement. It fails as an illustration in two ways. 
The sacrifice of Christ was voluntary : it was self 
sacrifice : and there was no kind of " punishment " 
devised for Christ except what was involved in His 
doing right in His obedience and His sympathy. 

On the other hand there is a punishment for 
sinners, and it is of two kinds. There is the eternal 
punishment that is, the alienation from God which 
sin involves and which has eternal consequences, and 
this Christ never bore. There is not the slightest 
trace of sin-consciousness in Christ ; nor, as far 
as I can see be it spoken with all reverence to 
Dr. Moberly any trace of what can be called 
vicarious penitence. The Agony in the Garden has 
been viewed as if it were a shrinking from the ex- 
perience of the Father's w r rath upon the sins of men 
with which Christ was to be identified. But this is 


simply groundless imagination. Neither the Agony 
in the Garden nor the great question upon the Cross 
appears to suggest any consciousness on our Lord's 
part of being identified with human sin. Purely and 
simply they suggest the agony of a righteous soul- 
conscious as neither Job nor the Psalmist could be 
of perfect innocence finding itself, in a world which 
it knows to be God's world, exposed to ignominy, 
failure, outrage, and death, while God remains silent 
and does nothing. That Christ should have asked 
the great question "My God, my God, why didst 
thou forsake me ? " and received no answer is, for 
all who feel the like trial in whatever degree, a cause 
of profoundest thankfulness. But I cannot see any 
reason for believing that He experienced in His 
spirit the sense of the Father's alienation from the 

This spiritual and eternal penalty of sin is gone 
at once as soon as the sin is gone out of the soul. 
And, as far as we can see, Christ not being a sinner 
did not bear it. There is another penalty of sin 
the temporal punishment which wrongdoing brings 
with it, and from this, as far as we can see, Christ 
does not deliver us. Our absolution does not 
necessarily or usually ward off from us any of the 
natural consequences of our repented sins. Only 
it gives us the right spirit in which to bear them, 
and it turns them into healing penances. To be 
i absolved is not to be let off. " Heard, forgiven, 
punished " was the record of God's dealings with 
His saints under the Old Covenant, and it is the 
record of His dealings with us under the New. 1 

Thus, as far as I can discern, there is in the case 
of Christ nothing which can be called vicarious 
punishment, nothing which was inflicted upon Christ 
instead of us. The doom on unrepented sin remains 
and the healing chastisement for repented sin remains. 
1 Ps. xcix 8. 


Christ's sacrifice purchased for us forgiveness that 
is all we are told in the sense that it enabled the 
flood of the Father's mercy to flow freely in the 
channels of the New Covenant. Why such a sacrifice 
should have been needful for such an end to be 
attained we shall consider directly. 

8. Lastly it has been an abundant source of scandal 
that the Atonement " Christ for us," acting in our 
stead has been isolated from " Christ in us," re- 
newing and recreating our characters. It is notice- 
able how, in St. Paul's teaching, faith in Christ, 
our atonement, merges itself, even in the Epistle to 
the Romans, and much more in his later Epistles, 
in the faith which appropriates and lives in His life. 
" Christ for us" our sacrifice of reconciliation gives 
us our fresh start, but it is but the prelude to 
"Christ in us." Our absolution is simply what gives 
us our admission into the new life. " I will run the 
way of thy commandments, w r hen thou hast set my 
heart at liberty." Again and again in the New 
Testament the effect of the atoning sacrifice is stated 
in terms of actual righteousness, because this is its 
only purpose. " How much more shall the blood of 
Christ, who through eternal spirit offered himself 
without spot to God, cleanse your consciences from 
dead works to serve the living God ? ' ' What you were 
redeemed from " with the precious blood ... of Christ " 
was " your vain manner of life handed down from 
your fathers." " Thou wast slain and didst purchase 
to God by thy blood men of every tribe, etc., 
and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and 
priests ; and they reign upon the earth." (The con- 
secrated life is the end and effect of atonement.) 
" His own self bare our sins in his body on the tree, 
that we having died unto sins, might live unto right- 
eousness." This is the language and purport of the 
whole New Testament. 

There are, in fact, three relations in which our Lord 


stands to us in the New Testament. There is Christ 
in front of us, who sets before us the standard of the 
new life in whom we see the true meaning of man- 
hood. That is to kindle our desire. Then there is 
Christ for us our propitiation or atonement 
winning for us, at the price of His blood-shedding, 
freedom from all the guilt and bondage of the 
past, the assurance of free forgiveness and the fresh 
start. Then there is Christ in us our new life by 
the Spirit, moulding us inwardly into His likeness, 
and conforming us to His character. And the three 
are one. Each is unintelligible without the others. 
The redeeming work of Christ lies in all together. 
We may dwell now on one and now on the other, 
but we can never really isolate one from the others 
without altogether distorting the meaning even of 
the one. 


We have been at pains, by reviewing the New Testa- 
ment, to understand how central and essential to 
the Gospel it announces is the conception of the 
Atonement with God won for us by the sacrifice of 
Christ. And we have laboured to disencumber the 
idea of His Atonement of scandals which have been 
suffered needlessly to disfigure it. Now let us con- 
template it in its legitimate outline, and see whether 
it commends itself to our conscience and our reason. 

Christ stands as the Inaugurator of the New Man- 
hood, perfect and complete in the midst of our sin- 
stained and weakened race. He sets the perfect 
standard of human life while He is on earth, so that 
none henceforth can doubt what perfect manhood 
means, and from the heavenly places to which He 
has passed He supplies the power of the Spirit that 
men may have wisdom and strength to live the good 


life according to His example. But between the 
example and the outpouring of the Spirit there stands 
intermediate another mode of action on our behalf. 
As the New Man, on behalf of all those who shall 
give themselves to His allegiance, He offers to the 
Father a great act of reparation the sacrifice of 
obedience consummated in blood and agony upon the 
cross. Over against all our selfishness, our impurity, 
our dishonouring of God, He makes that great act 
of reparation ; and in virtue of it the Father bestows 
upon all those who, by faith and incorporation, 
are united to Him a new standing ground in His 
presence, and the gift of free forgiveness ever renew- 
able, so that their past sins are no longer reckoned 
against them, the guilt and the burden of them is 
gone, and they can run the way of God's command- 
ments unimpeded, seeing He has set their hearts 
at liberty. 

Even here in this sacrificial action we must not 
isolate Christ from His people. To present ourselves 
to God, in soul and body, as a free-will offering is our 
reasonable service, and it is the law of humanity 
that sacrifice is vicarious as well as individual. 
We suffer for one another and redeem one another 
by suffering. St. Paul dares to speak of " filling up 
in his flesh that which is lacking in the sufferings of 
Christ for his body's sake, which is the church." 
And the New Testament constantly speaks of the 
Cross as our example as well as our propitiation. 
Nevertheless, as in all that concerns the relation of 
Christ to His people, that which in us is dependent 
and imitative, in Him is original and creative. His 
sacrifice won for His new humanity a boon to which 
they contributed nothing, which they must receive 
from Him or in His name simply and solely by faith, 
the boon of being forgiven ; and over all their im- 
perfect strivings and sacrifices that one full perfect 
and sufficient sacrifice abides perpetually pleaded 


to give adequacy to what is imperfect and expiate 
what is sinful. 

Christ we believe was one in nature with the 
Father. His self-sacrificing love is God's love. 
Why then we ask should God have needed this 
expiation ? Why should not free forgiveness have 
simply been announced as a word of God ? Or, to 
put it otherwise, if obedience, under the conditions of 
the sinful world, involved death, and all that Christ 
gave was obedience even to the point of dying at the 
hands of men, why should it have assigned to it this 
propitiatory or expiatory value ? So far as we can 
find an answer to this question at all, we can find 
it perhaps best on this line we can reflect how our 
thought of God would have suffered, if the great act 
of reparation had not been made by our Representa- 
tive, acting on our behalf, doing for us what we could 
not do for ourselves. We should have been without 
that sense, which nothing has conveyed to the con- 
science of men like the sacrifice of the Cross, of the 
outrage which sin is upon the majesty of God, as 
measured by the price which it cost to redeem us. 
The gift of free forgiveness, the freedom of a fresh 
start, was not simply given us by God, but bought 
for us at a great price. This, I suppose, lies at the 
heart of that rather obscure phrase of St. Paul's 
which is the only passage in the New Testament 
which even suggests the need of an explanation of 
the Atonement where he contrasts " the passing 
over of sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of 
God " with the great act, at the crisis of redemption, 
when God " set forth Christ Jesus " upon the great 
stage of the world " as a propitiation taking effect in 
his bloodshedding, to be made available for us by 
faith, for the exhibition of his righteousness at the 
present season that he might be just (righteous) and 
the justifier (or acquitter) of him that hath faith in 
Jesus.' ' Divine righteousness can now show itself 


freely as mercy, because man, in Christ Jesus, has on 
the great scene of the world made the perfect act of 
reparation and borne the uttermost witness to the 
sovereignty of God by obedience unto death. 

Is there not an immense difference between the 
effect upon men's minds of a mere announcement 
of free forgiveness and the effect upon them of a 
covenant of free forgiveness bought at so tremendous 
a price as the death of the Son of God ? The reason 
for the fearful price being paid to win forgiveness 
seems to be found rightly by St. Paul in the neces- 
sity for guarding the revelation of the divine mercy 
from all associations of easy-going indulgence or in- 
difference to sin. It was guarded by the Sacrifice ; 
and it was God Himself who paid the price. 

Dr. RashdalVs " Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology" 

This is a most learned and instructive work, for which 
every student must be grateful. But it seems to me, in 
some very important respects, extraordinarily arbitrary. 
Thus Dr. Rashdall rightly notes (p. 75 ff.) that the 
doctrine of the Atonement wrought by Christ's sacrifice 
is not due to St. Paul. " That view is rendered abso- 
lutely impossible by a single sentence in one of the 
practically undisputed Epistles of St. Paul himself, 
' I delivered unto you . , . that which also I received, 
how that Christ died for our sins according to the 
Scriptures.' The belief that in some sense Christ died 
for sin in order that sin might be forgiven and removed 
was thus quite certainly part of what St. Paul received. 
It was already an article of the Church's traditional 
creed when the apostle of the Gentiles was baptized 
into it." Cf. also p. 104: "That God had forgiven 
sins through Christ, and pre-eminently through His 
death, was common ground between himself (St. Paul) 
and his opponents. It was part of the common faith 
of the Church." But (very arbitrarily, I think) Dr. 


Rashdall is disposed to deny that the tradition was 
due to our Lord's own teaching. He thinks that the 
idea " resulted from the reflection of the Church in the 
interval which elapsed between the Crucifixion and 
St. Paul's conversion which cannot have been more 
than a very few years " (p. 76). It was accepted 
" simply and solely on authority " (pp. 80, 82) -the 
authority of the Old Testament scripture. " They found 
it, as they thought, distinctly foretold that He should 
do so (die that sins might be forgiven), in books which 
they regarded as in the most literal and plenary sense 
inspired writing. In that fact I believe we can discover 
the historical origin of the atonement doctrine " (p. 78). 
But there is no passage which would have suggested 
the doctrine at all obviously except Is. liii ; and that 
our Lord identified Himself with the Suffering Servant 
of this passage seems to me to be manifest (see above, 
p. 61). And the two great words of our Lord about 
the sacrificial value of His death, which are referred to 
above, both are grounded on this passage. This alone 
accounts for the undisputed position of the Atonement 
doctrine from the first. 

I think that one great omission which is conspicuous in 
Dr. Rashdall's conception of Christ is what is involved 
in His being the Christ that He came to inaugurate 
the new Israel, and that He acts accordingly as the 
representative before God of the Church of the believers 
in Him which is yet to be which by His death and 
resurrection and the coming of the Spirit He is to bring 
into effective being, and which is to be the old Church 
reformed on a new basis, on the basis of a new covenant 
by sacrifice. 


Two phrases of St. Paul which have been needlessly 
misinterpreted (see p. 291). 

(a) 2 Cor. v 21, " Him who knew no sin, he made 
to be sin on our behalf." I believe that " sin " here 
is the equivalent of " for sin " in Rom. viii 3 (" an 
offering for sin," R.V.). In the LXX, following the 


Hebrew, the same word stands for sin and sin-offering 
(dfjiapria, translating chattath). Thus Lev. iv 21, " It 
[the bullock] is the sin, i.e. the sin-offering, of the 
assembly " ; 24, " It [the goat] is a sin " ; 29, " He shall 
lay his hand upon the head of the sin " ; vi 25, " This 
is the law of the sin," i.e. sin-offering ; viii 14, " The 
bullock is the sin " ; cf. Hosea iv 8, " They feed on the 
sin." St. Paul means, I think, simply that " God made 
him who knew no sin to be the sin-offering on our 

(b) Gal. iii 13, " Having become a curse for us." 
The argument is Those who struggle in their own 
strength under the law end under condemnation or a 
curse. There is a better way not of saving ourselves, 
but of being saved. Fruitful faith in Jesus can do what 
fruitless struggle cannot. He brought us out from 
under the curse by His self-sacrifice. He was made a 
curse for us, i.e. treated as a malefactor, that we might 
not have to be treated as malefactors. We note that 
St. Paul is quoting a text of the Old Testament, Deut. 
xxi 23, which is " Cursed of God is everyone that 
hangeth upon a tree [gibbet]," but he leaves out the 
words " of God." It was the world, not God, which 
treated Christ as a malefactor. 



THERE are, no doubt, other ideas and principles 
which the doctrine of the Incarnation implies, and 
which might fall to be considered here. Thus the 
affirmation of the Word made Flesh involves, as 
against all the tendencies of Hellenism, the dignity 
of matter and of the material world, which indeed 
is implied alike in the Christian idea of creation, of 
sin, of the Incarnation, of the Church and the 
sacraments, of the resurrection of the body and 
the redemption of the whole creation. But we will 
defer the consideration of this principle until the 
sacraments and the resurrection of the body have 
been discussed in the next volume. Again, we have 
found ourselves close up against the question of 
Authority as involved in the idea of a divine 
message or revelation, but that again shall be 
deferred for discussion in connection with the 
Church. Once more we shall probably have been 
led already to feel the coherence of the various 
elements of the traditional faith which centres in 
Christ, and this solidarity of " the articles of the 
faith " has over against it in our days a like 
solidarity in the sequence of ideas which are grouped 
as " Modernism." A certain philosophy appears to 
lie behind each sequence of ideas. But again we 
shall be able to bring this out more effectively when 
the whole cycle of rival ideas has been passed in 



review. So at this point we will summarize our 
argument and draw it to a conclusion. 

Starting from the Jewish background, whence the 
first disciples started in the company of Jesus the 
background of the distinctively Jewish belief in 
God and the expectation of the Messiah and his king- 
dom l we observed how profoundly Jesus trans- 
formed the Jewish expectation, as His contemporaries 
held it, even while He accepted the title of Messiah 
turning His back on political and nationalist 
ideals, and building up, out of the materials of 
prophecy, one profoundly unified and spiritual con- 
ception of the Christ, manifested, suffering, dying, 
rising, glorified, and to come in judgment. And we 
noted how, quite apart from any question of names 
and titles, by the unexampled spiritual authority 
which He wielded, He absorbed the attention, the 
faith, the devotion of His disciples, so that He came 
to be as God to their souls. This is the feature in 
the Gospel story which overwhelms us as we read 
it. But contrary to this deepening attraction of 
His person, and pulling in the opposite direction, 
there was the horror of the impending Cross, and 
the overthrow which it involved of all that had been 
associated with the Christ and his triumph. 2 We 
watched the tragedy of the disciples' failure under 
the strain of these contending feelings, and then 
their recovery under the experience of the Resurrec- 
tion and the Ascension and the effusion of the Spirit. 
But still we noted that all their faith centred on 
the risen and glorified Lord, the man whom they 
had known, full of the Spirit and power, whom they 
had deserted, whom they had seen crucified, now 
exalted to the throne of God, who had sent thence 
upon them the Holy Spirit. It would have seemed as 
if they were on their way to deify their human Master 
after the Greek manner. But that could not be. 

1 Cap. i. Cap. ii. 


In the providence of God it was the bitterest of 
their opponents who was to interpret to them the 
meaning of their faith. This Saul in the days 
when, as he said, he was " thinking with himself 
that he ought to do many things contrary to the 
name of Jesus of Nazareth," l and was " punishing 
his disciples ofttimes in every city and compelling 
them to blaspheme " must have known a good 
deal about Jesu. Doubtless he learned more after 
his conversion, at Damascus and Jerusalem, about 
" the tradition " of the Christian society. But he 
was certainly convinced that it was nothing less 
than the action of God in his own soul that had 
" revealed his Son " in him ; and this the Divine 
Sonship- becomes the keynote of his teaching about 
Jesus. The man born of the seed of David 
according to the flesh, who after living and dying 
as man had been exalted to the divine glory and 
to the supreme Lordship before He was born of a 
woman to His human condition, aye, before ever 
the world was, was the proper Son of God, a Son 
with His Father, through whom all things were 
made and in whom all things have their consistency. 
This is the doctrine of the Incarnation. And we 
noted that this doctrine, which interprets the person 
and glory of the ascended Jesus upon the background 
of Jewish monotheism as the coming of God's 
own Son in the flesh, and not the deification of a 
man, seems to have been without controversy 
accepted throughout the churches. 2 There is, as 
we saw, no Adoptionism, properly so called, to be 
found in the New Testament. And we discovered 
in the Synoptic records of Jesus several solemn 
sayings which are most certainly original and which 
can only be interpreted in the sense of a trans- 
cendental, superhuman Sonship. They do not differ 
in real implication from the more emphatic utter- 
1 Acts xxvi. 9. 2 Cap. iii. 


ances about pre-existent Sonship ascribed to Jesus 
in the Fourth Gospel. That Jesus so spoke must 
have been on record in the tradition of the Church, 
though the force of His words had not been generally 
realized till St. Paul brought it home to the other 
apostles in its full force. So only can we account 
for his doctrine of Incarnation coming so easily into 
general acceptance. 

We analyzed the substantially identical doctrine of 
the Incarnation of the Son or " Word " of God in 
St. Paul, in the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
and in St. John. Besides the words of Jesus Himself, 
we found the materials for the conception of these 
first expositors of the person of our Lord in the 
Jewish phrases " the Word," and " the Wisdom," 
and "the Abiding Place " of God phrases expressive 
of God as He manifests Himself in nature or amongst 
His people much more obviously than in any 
purely Hellenistic sources. But it is to be re- 
membered that Hellenism had already influenced 
the Jewish tradition, especially at Alexandria, as 
in the Book of Wisdom; and the Epistle to the 
Hebrews at least is an Alexandrian book. 1 

If the Hellenistic influence on Christian origins 
has been much exaggerated by one school of critics, 
so by another school of critics has the influence of 
the later Jewish Apocalypses. This was our con- 
clusion when we examined the eschatological and 
apocalyptic teaching of Jesus and noted its complex 
character and originality. That our Lord was an 
apocalyptic seer there is no doubt, but He profoundly 
transmuted the apocalyptic tradition in adopting 
it. On the whole, He approximates far more closely 
in teaching to the prophets than to the later writers 
of Apocalypses. In particular, we saw no good 
reason for supposing that He prophesied the im- 
mediate coming of the end of the world. On the 

21 i Cap. iv. 


contrary, He appears to have declared explicitly 
that He had no map of the future spread before 
His eyes. 1 

Having thus reviewed the thought of the New 
Testament about Christ, we contrasted its doctrine, 
which is the traditional doctrine, about His person 
with the most striking and distinctive modern views, 
all of a humanitarian and rationalistic type, which 
have claimed the name of critical reconstructions, 
and found them not truly critical, in that they are 
strangely arbitrary in what they accept and what 
they reject, and even violently contrary in their 
results. We saw reason to claim that the traditional 
faith modified, in view of really critical require- 
ments, but substantially unchanged is alone able 
to account for the facts as a whole, the facts of the 
Gospel story and the convictions of the first disciples, 
by which alone the origin of the Christian Church 
can be explained. And we considered the most 
important types of objection w r hich are made to the 
traditional doctrine. 2 

Then we studied the later development of the 
doctrine of Christ's person in outline, and came to 
the conclusion that the decisions of the Councils, 
which fixed the doctrine in dogmatic limits, were 
all of them necessary and justified in their negative 
aspects, considered as excluding types of teaching 
fundamentally destructive of the Christian faith ; 
but that they were open to great abuse when they 
were made the positive basis on which a picture of 
a Christ was erected, in some points strangely unlike 
the picture in the Gospels. We felt the need of 
insisting that, while the decrees were necessary as 
hedges or safeguards of the fundamental faith of 
the New Testament, they should be understood to 
direct us to the Christ of the Gospels as giving us 
the positive image, and to the apostolic writers 
1 Cap. v. * Cap. vi. 


as giving us the positive interpretation, of His 
person. 1 

Then we proceeded to consider the main ideas 
and doctrines which the Incarnation doctrine of 
the New Testament is found to involve ; and first 
the doctrine of the trinity of " persons " in the 
unity of God, the sense of which gradually became 
distinct in the process of experience which the Gospels 
record, by which the Name of God became to the 
disciples the Name of the Father, and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost ; and we took note of the 
profound assistance which the reason finds in this 
conception of the one divine being as not a 
monotonous unit, but containing within Himself 
relationships which human language at least can 
only describe as a fellowship of persons. 2 

Next we examined the presupposition of all the 
Biblical accounts of Redemption, viz. that man is 
universally sinful and that, in order to realize the 
end of his being in fellowship with God and fellow- 
ship amongst men, he needs something much more 
than enlightenment. He needs such a fundamental 
recreation and renewal as involves the direct action 
of the God who made him. He must be saved. 
He cannot save himself. And we examined in 
outline the meaning of the doctrine of " original 
(or racial) sin," and found it justified or rather 
required by the essentially corporate and racial 
basis of human personality. 3 

Finally we found the idea of Atonement or Pro- 
pitiation made by Christ before God, on behalf of 
the New Humanity which He came to inaugurate, 
to be an idea which the writers of the New Testament 
and the Church from the beginning assumed for 
true. We found that it clearly depends upon Christ's 
own testimony. We endeavoured to rid it of scandals 
in which, in the current tradition of the Church, 

1 Cap. vii. * Cap. viii. 8 Cap. ix. 


it has become too plentifully involved ; and thus 
purged, and presented in its original outline, we 
found it free from the moral objections which have 
been urged against it, and deeply responsive to the 
moral reason, which demands reparation to evoke 
and justify forgiveness ; and we saw that its in- 
tellectual justification is inseparable from that 
estimate of Christ's person which sees in Him the 
representative head of a new humanity, who can 
act for His " members." l 


In all this process of observing and thinking we 
have found no justification for certain opinions 
which are commonly held and propounded as critical, 
viz. (1) that the theology of St. Paul and St. John, 
which is with little difference the theology of the 
Catholic Church, overlays and obscures the naive 
theology, if so it is to be called, of the historical 
Jesus. In any case you cannot get behind the 
apostolic witness. The Epistles are, as a whole, 
somewhat older than the Gospels as we have them, 
and the earliest Gospel records grew up in the heart 
of the Church which the Acts and the Epistles dis- 
close to us. But also in these earliest records we 
discern a person who cannot be reduced to merely 
human proportions. The picture of Him, which 
we feel compelled to take for history and not for 
invention, is the picture of the superhuman Son of 
God. It justifies and requires the theology of St. Paul 
and St. John. 

(2) We have seen no justification for asserting 
any determining influence of Hellenistic ideas upon 
the origins of Christianity, upon the Christianity 
of the New Testament. It is true that it had a 
much greater and deeper influence upon its develop- 
ment, which we shall have to consider in connection 

1 Cap. x. 


with the sacramental system of the Church. But 
it had little influence on its origins, save in so far as 
it had already influenced Alexandrian Judaism in 
such a way as the Book of Wisdom represents. Like 
Christianity, so Judaism showed a marked power 
at different periods to assimilate foreign elements 
from Babylonia and Persia and Greece and to in- 
corporate them into its own proper tradition in a 
discriminating spirit which never suffered the 
essential character of its own doctrine to be impaired 
or obscured. These elements had come to belong 
to Judaism before Christ was born. They belong 
to His background. But they were not consider- 
able. It is substantially only the religion of the 
prophets and the person and teaching of Jesus 
which provide the materials of New Testament 

(3) Nor have we found justification for the ex- 
aggerated importance which a good many distin- 
guished teachers ascribe to the Jewish apocalypses, 
and especially to the Similitudes of the Book of 
Enoch. We found no trace in the New Testament 
of the idea of the Pre-existing Son of Man, who is 
neither properly divine nor properly human. I sup- 
pose no one believes that such a being ever really 
existed. He is purely mythical ; and it is astonish- 
ing how large an influence even some orthodox 
theologians seem to allow to this mythical figure, 
without recognizing that the superstructure of ortho- 
dox theology is immensely weakened if myth enters 
so largely into its foundations. But in fact the 
conception does not really appear in the New Testa- 
ment. It is gratuitous to imagine it. 1 

1 The only sentence which really at first sight suggests it is 
John v 27, " He gave him authority to execute judgment, because 
he is the Son of Man." This sounds like the Similitudes of Enoch. 
But it is impossible to ascribe the idea, of a pre-existing Son of Man 
to John. He explains his theology in his preface, and it appears 
constantly in his Gospel, and there is no room for it. It is the 
Word or Son of God who pre exists. 



Not indeed in New Testament times, but in the 
succeeding ages of the Church, especially when intel- 
lectual life has been keen, the doctrine of the person 
of Christ has been the centre of bitter controversy, 
and this controversy has undoubtedly distracted the 
attention of the Church from what ought always 
to be its main interest the following " the way," 
the living the life, the maintenance of the moral, social 
witness. The religion of Christ, as He taught it, 
was to be, first of all, the way. The way was a 
hard way, and made a tremendous claim for sacrifice 
upon the heart and will of men. But for the men 
of good will it does not appear that our Lord intended 
the doctrinal claim to prove difficult. "If any man 
willeth to do God's will, he shall know of the teaching, 
whether it be of God." 1 But the gravest scandal 
which Church history presents to many of the best 
men is that again and again in East and West, 
among Catholics and Protestants, they see a rigid, 
controversial, and often merciless insistence on 
doctrinal orthodoxy, coupled with manifest laxity of 
moral discipline. The situation in the Church has 
thus constantly presented features precisely contra- 
dictory to the apparent intention of Christ that 
is to say, a concentration of interest on precise 
orthodoxy, coupled with a great readiness to " make 
it easy" in moral matters for those who are prepared 
to submit to the doctrinal authority of the Church, 
and to conform to its required practice. This, I 
cannot doubt, is the gravest of all the causes of 
scandal in the Church, and I cannot minimize it 
or apologize for it. 2 

1 John vii 17. 

8 I would venture to refer to my " Essex Hall Lecture," 
Christianity applied to the Life of Men and Nations, given by me in 
1920, and published by the Lindsey Press, 5 Essex Street, Strand, 
London, W.C. 


But when, in order to remove this scandal, men 
disparage theology they make a fundamental mis- 
take. However many inconsistencies may be found 
in all ages between men's lives and their professed 
beliefs, there can be no question that, in the long 
run, how men behave will depend upon what they 
really believe about God and human nature and 
destiny ; and in particular that the Christian " way " 
depends for its motives and supports upon a specific 
doctrine about God and His love and His purposes 
for man, that is the doctrine of the Incarnation. 
" Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that 
he loved us, and sent his Son." No one who has 
followed with any degree of sympathy the argument 
of this book will doubt that St. Paul and St. John 
were right in perceiving that the Gospel requires 
theological controversy, where necessary to defend 
a certain original and final doctrine on which it 
depends. " Though we, or an angel from heaven, 
should preach unto you any gospel other than that 
which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." 
" Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the 
teaching of Christ, hath not God." x My last words 
in this volume shall be an attempt to set in a clear 
light the importance of maintaining (though never 
by methods of force) the doctrine about Christ of 
St. Paul and St. John. 

I think the word which best sums up the importance 
of this Incarnation doctrine is finality or uniqueness. 
Let me quote the thoughtful language of Edwyn 
Be van 2 : 

" The great dividing line, it appears to me, is that 
which marks off all those who hold that the relation of 
Jesus to God however they describe or formulate it 
is of such a kind that it could not be repeated in any 
other individual that to speak, in fact, of its being 
repeated in any other individual is a contradiction in 

1 Gal. i 8-9, 2 John 9. 2 Hellenism and Christianity, p. 271. 


terms, since any individual standing in that relation to 
God would be Jesus, and that Jesus, in virtue of this 
relation, has the same absolute claim upon all men's 
worship and loyalty as belongs to God. A persuasion 
of this sort of uniqueness attaching to Jesus seems to 
me the essential characteristic of what has actually in 
the field of human history been Christianity." 

Now it is to me evident that nothing but the 
doctrine of "tliQ.Word made flesh" the doctrine of 
the Nicene Creed can interpret or justify this unique- 
ness and finality ascribed to Christ. Dr. Kirsopp 
Lake has set before us the opposite estimate of the 
teaching of Jesus in human history, as contributory 
but as essentially neither final nor complete. 1 Dr. 
Lake is regarded as an " extremist." But my 
contention is, that no " mediating " doctrine, nothing 
except the full doctrine of the Nicene Creed, which is 
substantially identical with St. Paul's and St. John's, 
can either explain or justify the ascription to Jesus 
of finality and uniqueness in the strict sense. What 
I mean is this : if that doctrine is true, there is 
finality. No disclosure of God to man, such as is 
possible in this world, can be even conceived fuller 
or completer than is given in Him who is God in- 
carnate the Word made flesh. He that hath seen 
Him hath seen the Father. And no relation of man 
to God can be even conceived closer than in Him 
in whom the Manhood is taken into God. From 
Him, so conceived, proceeds necessarily the final 
and universal religion, for whatever elements of 
truth are found in the religions of the world, and 
whatever excellencies in moral ideal, here, in Christ, 
is necessarily something more complete. And \ve 
cannot " look for another " Christ. There can be 
no other. That person, Jesus of Nazareth, is on 
the throne of the universe. 

1 See the conclusion of his Landmarks in the History of Early 


On the other hand, no doctrine of Christ, less than 
this, can justify the claim of finality. If Jesus was 
a man who began His existence as a person when 
He was born of Mary however close the union with 
God into which He was taken, however full the 
inspiration of the Spirit granted to Him there can 
be no reason in the nature of things why another 
man, in a later age or in another country, and be- 
longing to another tradition, should not be in the 
same relation to God and equally or more fully 
inspired. No form of adoptionist or Nestorian or 
generally humanitarian teaching can claim finality 
for its Christ. 

It must be remembered that religion is a thing 
for common men. The refinements of the Antiochene 
school which lay behind Nestorianism were very 
subtle ; but Nestorianism as vulgarly understood 
was their inevitable outcome. Common men can 
understand the doctrine of the Incarnation, and 
they can understand the doctrine of an inspired 
man. But I do not think it is open to question that 
so far as they came to hold the latter doctrine, 
though they might accept Christ as the best and 
most fully inspired man who has hitherto appeared 
among men, they would neither worship Him nor 
think Him the final revelation, nor His name the 
one name, nor His religion the religion for all man- 
kind. I cannot conceive how this can be doubted. 

Of course there are those who would say that 
the acceptance of the category of evolution in all 
departments of life, and in the regions of human 
religion and morality, renders the very idea of 
a final religion revealed two thousand years ago, 
and never to be antiquated, quite unacceptable. 
But I suppose that this objection is based upon a 
misconception about evolution which we are out- 
growing. Evolution is as compatible with retro- 
gression as with progress, as we were warned by 


Huxley long ago. It must accommodate itself to 
the facts. The facts of human history suggest 
nothing less than necessary or uniform progress. 
In the particular region of the history of religion 
this is especially the case. The highest level in the 
religion of Persia was attained in the teaching of 
Zoroaster, three thousand years ago. The highest 
level in Buddhism is indisputably the level of 
Siddartha Gotama. It would remain true, even if 
Christ were a mere man, that though in that case, 
no doubt, some successor might attain a higher level 
than He, yet in fact He still remained the highest 
ideal. And these considerations suffice, I think, 
to prevent our rejecting the idea of the incarna- 
tion of God in Christ, once for all, as if it could be 
repudiated in the name of evolution. 

But there is another consideration perhaps more 
satisfactory. It is that though Christ is final 
though He is on the throne of the world and His 
judgment the final judgment though St. John can 
rightly claim of Christians that any " advance " 
which takes a Christian teacher outside or away from 
the " doctrine of Christ " is self-condemned yet 
that Christ and the doctrine of Christ is so rich and 
manifold that it will take all races and all ages and 
all sorts of individual characters to realize all that it 
involves. That is an idea suggested to us by both 
St. Paul and St. John. By St. Paul when he bids us 
see the whole development of the Church catholic 
as the sphere in which Christ is to be gradually ful- 
filled : by St. John when he recalls to us that the 
function of the Spirit is to lead the Church into " all 
the truth." No doubt this is an often misinterpreted 
text. It needs to be coupled with the two neigh- 
bouring texts where our Lord speaks to the disciples 
of the Holy Spirit as " to bring all things to your 
remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you " 
and " to glorify me : for he shall take of mine and 


shall declare it unto you." The function of the Spirit 
is to interpret Christ and not to supersede Him. 
Nevertheless there is so much to be brought out and 
interpreted that we are constantly feeling we have 
only made a beginning of understanding Him, and 
that as Jew and Greek and Roman and French- 
man and Englishman and German have contributed, 
so will Indian and Chinese and Japanese. It will 
take all mankind to understand Him in whom dwells 
all the fulness of God bodily. 

The ascension of Jesus is the symbol of His 
finality. He passed to the throne of the world. He 
is to come to judge the quick and dead. His judg- 
ment on all men and things is to be the final judgment. 
But the Ascension, though it is in this sense the great 
end and there can be no higher summit, yet in 
another most manifest sense is a fresh beginning. 
It is but the establishment upon His secure throne 
of Him who is to be the source of redemption for all 
men : who by His Spirit is to work throughout the 
world of men until all men have heard His Gospel in 
effective power and the kingdoms of the world can 
become the kingdoms of God and of His Christ. 

So understood Christianity is indeed the religion 
of development or unfolding the gradual unfolding 
of all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which 
are in Christ. 


There is an idea current that the articles of the Creed, 
"He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right 
hand of God ; from thence He shall come to judge the 
quick and the dead " depended upon the old Ptolemaic 
astronomy which rendered possible a belief in a heaven 
above our heads ; and that the disappearance of this 
theory has invalidated this group of beliefs connected 


with the Ascension. The same is said to be true of the 
belief in the descent into hell. Thus Dr. Glazebrook 
says : " The clauses have no literal meaning except for 
those who regard the earth as a fixed centre of creation, 
with a hollow space underneath for Hades and a solid 
vault overhead." And Dr. Streeter, " The Ascension 
implies the belief that heaven is a definite region locally 
fixed above the solid bowl of the skies." 

But it is a mistake to suppose that all intelligent 
Christians of the early ages held such ideas. Plato had 
taught the intelligent world of the Greco-Roman Empire 
by his myths to accept the principle that about 
41 the other world " or other worlds we can be taught 
for the most part only in figure or allegory. This idea 
was widely diffused and Alexandrian Judaism gave it 
additional vogue. There is no doubt that ideas about 
heaven and hell such as Dr. Glazebrook and Dr. Streeter 
refer to did prevail in the world of the first centuries, 
outside the Church and inside it. But it is not the case 
that they were universal. I doubt whether St. Paul held 
any such ideas. When he speaks of Christians being 
now with Christ " in the heavenlies " or heavenly 
sphere, 1 he cannot have been thinking of it as a defined 
locality. When he speaks of " being caught up into the 
third heaven " I suspect he knew quite well that he was 
speaking in a figure, as one who sees but a blurred re- 
flection in a mirror, or apprehends but in a riddle. 2 Nor 
is it the least probable that when the author of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of our Lord as having 
passed through the heavens into the true tabernacle 3 
he was forgetting what he had learned from his Alex- 
andrian teachers, that earthly things are only " figures " 
or " shadows " of eternal realities. 4 No one would be 
disposed to ascribe materialistic ideas of heaven to 
Clement and Origen. But it is more surprising to find 
Jerome, when he is interpreting " foolish speaking " 
(on Eph. iii 5), 5 giving it as an example of such nonsense 
that Christians dare to say " that heaven is curved like 

1 Eph. i 3, ii 6. 2 1 Cor. xiii 12. 

8 iv 14, viii 2. 4 ix 23, x 1. 

8 P.L. xxvi 519 f. Dr. Harris, Creeds or no Creeds, called my 
attention to this quotation. 


an arch, and that a throne is placed in heaven, and that 
God sits upon it, and that, as if He were a commander or 
judge, the angels stand round to obey His commands and 
to be sent on different missions." Plainly for Jerome 
the truth and meaning of the Ascension did not depend 
upon such " nonsense." 

Again the Fathers are many of them at pains to ex- 
plain that " He sitteth at the right hand of God " was 
certainly figurative, seeing that God has no right hand. 

Lastly as regards Hades, whether it holds some special 
position, as a part of or in relation to the earth, there 
was a good deal of discussion in many circles and among 
Christians in early times. There again it is hard to 
believe that when St. Paul speaks of the dead as " sleep- 
ing in Jesus " he was thinking of a pit underground. 
There is a long and interesting discussion of the matter 
in Gregory of Nyssa's de Anima et Resurrectione, where he 
seems to follow Posidonius the Platonizing Stoic ; and 
he reaches the conclusion " that the soul, being im- 
material, is under no necessity to be detained in certain 
portions of nature." Hades he explains to mean " the 
invisible " (TO detSes), and " to go to Hades " the transla- 
tion of the soul into the invisible. 

I am not disputing the wide prevalence of merely 
physical conceptions of heaven and hell such as Coperni- 
can astronomy must have utterly overthrown. I am 
only pleading that, even when no one doubted the 
Ptolemaic astronomy, intelligent Christians did not fail 
to see that heaven and hell were not spatial terms. 

I have in Belief in God (pp. 272-273) spoken about the 
Ascension of Christ as a physical fact which the apostles 
saw, and of its spiritual significance, quite irrespective 
of changes in our conception of the structure of the uni- 
verse ; and (pp. 180-182) I have endeavoured to show 
how illogical and unreasonable it is to argue that because 
in the case of what lies outside possible human experience 
we must be taught by symbols, therefore we can apply 
the same symbolic interpretation to events, such as the 
miracles connected with our Lord's person, which are 
stated to have occurred within human experience and 
have all their significance from having so actually 



CHAPTER I. The Jewish Background. The great question, 
pp. 1-3. Where we start. The Jewish background, 
3-4 ; taken for granted by Jesus and His disciples, 4^8. 
Importance of this, because of (I) the Jewish doctrine 
of God and its consequences, 8-11. (II) the expecta- 
tion of the Kingdom of God, 11-14. (Ill) the features 
of the Messianic expectation : (1) the universality of 
Israel's religion, 15-16 ; (2) the doom of the world 
powers, 16-17 ; (3) the King Messiah, 17-18 ; (4) the 
New Covenant, the effusion of the Spirit and the Resurrec- 
tion of the dead, 18-19 ; (5) Daniel's vision of the " one 
like a son of man " developed in the Book of Enoch, 19-21. 
The apocalyptic literature, 22-3 ; its limited influence, 
24-5. The Jewish parties in our Lord's time, 25-7. 

Notes. A. Traces of polytheism in O.T., 28-9. 
B. The teaching of Zoroaster, 29-30. C. The belief 
in the pre-existing Son of Man, 30-3. 

CHAPTER II. The Belief of the First Disciple. Its gradual 
development : (I) as interpreted by (1) Harnack, 
pp. 35-6 ; (2) Schweitzer, 37-8 ; (3) Bousset and Kirsopp 
Lake, 39-41 ; their common assumption, 41 ; the 
trustworthiness of Synoptic Gospels and Acts, 41-3. 
(II) The preparation in John the Baptist, 43-6. (Ill) 
The impression on the disciples of the Galilaean ministry : 
the title Son of Man, 46-7 ; the impression of authority 
in word and work, 47-52 ; Aut deus aut homo non bonus, 
52-3. (IV) The titles of Jesus : The Son of God, 54-7 ; 
The Christ, 57-9 ; The Suffering Servant, 59-62 ; The 
glorified Son of Man, 63-6. The failure of the disciples, 

Note on John the Baptist and Jesus, 68-9. 


CHAPTER III. The Faith of the First Church The meaning 
of the Cross, pp. 70-2. (I) The recovery of the disciples' 
faith requires the actual resurrection, 73-4 ; the trust- 
worthiness of the Acts, 74-6 ; the nature of the earliest 
faith in Jesus as Lord, 76-8. Was it to end in a doctrine 
of " deification " ? 78-9. (II) The influence of St. Paul : 
the doctrine of the incarnation of the Son, 79-84 ; His 
cosmic functions ; His Godhead implied or asserted, 
85-6 ; sources of the doctrine, 86-90 ; accepted by the 
other apostles, 90-1 ; the idea of the divine Wisdom, 
92-4. (Ill) The Epistle to the Hebrews and its doctrine 
of Christ, 94-7 ; in agreement with St. Paul, 97-9. 

Notes. A. On the institution by Christ of the sacra- 
ment of His body and blood, 99-102. B. On the question 
whether the title Lord for Jesus was in use in the first 
church in Jerusalem, 102-5. C. St. Paul's phrase, 
" Christ after the flesh," 105. 

CHAPTER IV. St. John and the Rest of the New Testament. 
(I) Recent work on the Fourth Gospel Stanton, Meyer, 
Burney : The use to be made of the Gospel, pp. 107-11 ; 
its doctrine of Christ's person, 111-15 ; the sources of 
the doctrine ; the historical memory ; the position of 
the Prologue ; the Logos idea in Hellenism and its 
influence among the Jews ; St. John's use of it, 115-19 ; 
analysis of the prologue, 119-22. (II) The rest of the 
N.T. : No positive " adoptionist " doctrine, 123-4 ; 
the Revelation, 124-7 ; The Epistle of James, 127-30 ; 
1 Peter, 130-2 ; Conclusion, 133. 

Note on Reitzenstein's theory, 133-5. 

CHAPTER V. The Apocalyptic Teaching of Jesus. The Messi- 
anic expectation summarized, pp. 136-9. The cosmic 
catastrophe in the prophets, 139-41 ; in the later apoca- 
lypses, 141-2. The acceptance of the prophecies by 
Jesus, 142-4. His teaching about the future coming 
as immediate, 144-6. The doom upon Jerusalem, 
146-8 ; thrown upon the background of cosmic catas- 
trophe, 148-9. The Last Day really proclaimed, 150 ; 
but nothing said about times or seasons ; the mistake of 
the disciples ; the twofold character of Christ's teaching 


about the Kingdom ; His profession of ignorance, 149- 
55 ; the attitude of St. Paul and of the seer of the 
Apocalypse, 155-6. Is the Gospel of the Kingdom for 
this world or the next ? 156-60. 

Note. An illustration from Tacitus, 160-1. 

CHAPTER VI. Is the Doctrine of the Incarnation true ? Summary 
of argument hitherto, pp. 162-4. (I) The positions of 
Harnack, Schweitzer, and Bousset arbitrary and one-sided, 
165-9 ; the true method of reply, 169. (II) The English 
Modernists, 170-3. (Ill) The objection that we are 
dehumanizing Christ and making His example unreal 
considered, 173-9 ; the idea of an incarnation of God 
in humanity with Christ for foremost specimen, 179-82 ; 
conclusion, 182-183. (IV) Alleged moral defects in 
Christ, 184-6 ; His supposed disclaimer of goodness, 
186-8. (V) His alleged errors as to (1) the end of the 
world, 188-9 ; (2) the activities of devils, 189-91 ; (3) 
the books of the O.T., 191-3. Summary, 193-5. 

CHAPTER VII. The Definitions of the Councils concerning the 
Person of Christ. (I) Their relation to the books of the 
N.T., pp. 196-8 ; the perilous position of the early 
Church and the mistakes of its teachers, 198-203. (II) 
The definition against Arius ; the teaching of Athanasius, 
204-9. (Ill) The definition against Apollinarius, 209-11. 

(IV) Against Nestorius, 211-13 ; its importance, 214-6. 

(V) Against Eutyches and the Mono phy sites, 216-7. 
The result at Chalcedon criticized, 217-8. Considera- 
tions : (1) The dogmas negative, 218-9 ; but (2) 
necessary, 219-20 ; and (3) in themselves unexception- 
able, 220-2 ; but (4) abused in effect ; real humanity 
of Christ obscured, 222-4 ; (5) the true use of them 
the picture in the Gospels and the theory in St. Paul ; 
the " self-emptying." Legitimate agnosticism, 224-6 ; 
the juxtaposition of two consciousnesses in Christ 
deprecated, 227 ; the meaning of an " impersonal man- 
hood," 227-8. 

Note. A. On the Shepherd of Hernias, Didache, etc., 
228-30. B. On the phrase Enliypostasia, 230. 


CHAPTER VIII. The Implied Doctrine of the Holy Trinity. 

(I) An outcome of the Christian experience, pp. 231-5. 

(II) (1) The three distinguishable persons, 235-9 ; (2) 
their mutual inclusiveness, 239-41. (Ill) The implied 
doctrine difficult to formulate ; mistakes of early teachers; 
final outcome, 241-4 ; supposed differences ; Dr. Rashdall 
on St. Augustine and St. Thomas, 244-7. The rational 
value of the doctrine for us, 248-53. 

Note on the N.T. uses of Spirit and St. Paul's supposed 
identification of Christ and the Spirit, 253-5. 

CHAPTER IX. Sin and the Fall. Implied in the N.T., pp. 
256-7. (I) The O.T. doctrine ; Christ's teaching ; the 
rest of the N.T. ; 257-62. (II) The modem estimate 
of man, 263-7. (Ill) The Bible theory finds the seat 
of sin in the will. Rival theories : (1) the source of sin 
in the body ; (2) sin equated with imperfection ; (3) the 
doctrine of determinism, 267-72. (IV) The Fall of Man ; 
supposed antagonism with science ; restatement ; St. 
Paul's doctrine of the Old Adam and the New Man, 
272-5 ; still tenable in substance ; inherited sinfulness, 
275-7 ; the coherence of the Virgin Birth of Christ with 
the conception of the Fall, 277-9. 

CHAPTER X. The Atonement. (I) Preliminary considerations : 
(1) no redemption except by being made actually god- 
like, pp. 280-2 ; (2) God's willingness to forgive on no 
other condition than repentance, 282-3 ; (3) the need 
of atonement involved in the corporate method of re- 
demption, 283-4 ; (4) so in the O.T., 284-5 ; (5) in our 
Lord's teaching, 285-8 ; (6) in the Acts ; (7) in St. 
Paul, 288-91 ; (8) in the rest of the N.T., 291-2. (II) 
The appeal of the doctrine, 293-5 ; scandals obviated, 
295-300. (Ill) The central idea of Reparation by the 
Representative Man as the ground of the gospel of 
forgiveness, 300-3. 

Notes. A. On Dr. Rashdall's Idea of Atonement, 
303-304. B. On two misinterpreted phrases of St. Paul, 


CHAPTER XI. Summary and Conclusion. (I) Summary, 
306-12. (II) Certain " critical " opinions not sub- 
stantiated, 312-13. (Ill) Theology must not be dis- 
paraged ; the central question the Finality of Christ ; 
not compatible with any estimate of His person except 
the traditional one, 314-7. Finality and evolution ; 
the meaning of the Ascension, 317-9 ; the Ascension 
and Copernican astronomy, 319-21. 


Abelard, 293 

Acts (of the Apostles), 6, 42, 73- 

75, 77, 123, 236-7, 261, 288 
^Eschylus, 4 

Alexander (Bp. of Alex.), 205 
Alexander (the Great), 20 
Alfasi (Rabbi Isaac), 140 
Anastasius, 212 
Anselra, 293 

Antiochus Epiphanes, 17 n., 20 
Apollinarius (of Laodicea), 209- 

211, 230 

Aquinas 'St. Thomas), 245, 247 
Aristotle, 12 
Arius, 204-209 
Arnou (Dr. Rene), 9 n., 10 n. 
Athanasius (St.), 207-209, 219, 

223, 245 
Augustine (St.), 8, 158 n., 174, 

245, 246, 291 
Aurelian (Emp.), 203 
Aytoun (Rev. R. B.), 61 n. 

Baker (Prof. Bethune), 4, 5, 173 
Balfour (Lord), 222 
Barnabas (Ep. of), 198 
Bevan (Edwyn), 9 n., 14 n., 30, 

Bousset (Wilhelm), 10, 39, 46 n., | 

47 n., 99, 102 n., 104, 165, 169 I 
Box (Dr.), 31 n., 128 
Brahma, 231 
Bright (Dr.), 208 n. 
Buddha (The), 176, 318 
Burkitt (Dr.), 74, 115 n., 197 
Burney (Dr.), 69, 107 n., 115 n., 

120 n., 121 n., 122 n., 125 n., 

Byron (Lord), 263 

Calvin (John), 293 

Campbell (McLeod), 293 

Carlyle (Thomas), 207 

Cave (Dr. Sydney), 29 

Charles (Dr.), 21 n., 23, 32, 65 n., 

141 n. 

Chase (Dr.), 120 n., 132 n., 254 
Clark (Lowther), 7 n. 
Clement (Alex.), 10, 274 n., 320 
Clement (of Rome), 198, 235 
Constantine, 205 
Creed ( J. M. ), 44 n. 
Croce (Benedetto), 13 
Cyril (St.), 212, 214, 227 

Dale (Dr.), 293 

Dalman (G.), 31, 55 n., 56 n., 

62 n., 66 n., 88 n., 103, 189 n. 
Daniel (Book of), 19, 20, 32, 63, 

65, 141 n., 145, 147, 149 
Davidson (Dr. A. B.), 28 
De La Mazeliere, 232 n. 
Denney (Dr.), 293 
Diodore (of Tarsus), 211 
Dionysius (Pseudo-) 247 
Driver (Dr.), 28, 59, 61 n. 

Edward VI (King), 297 
Eleazer (the Martyr), 286 n. 
Emmet (Dr.), 185 n. 
Enoch (Similitudes of the Book 

of), 20, 21, 24, 31-33, 37, 63, 

65, 87, 313 
Epicurus, 9 
Erasmus, 223 
Essenes (the), 25, 26 n. 
Esther (Book of), 16, 17 n. 
Euripides, 295 



Eusebius, 147 n. 
Eutyches, 216 


Gamaliel, 80 
Glazebrook (Dr.), 320 
Glover (T. R.), 102 n. 
Goethe, 116 
Gregory (of Nyssa), 321 

Hanson (Rev. Richard), 171 n. 
Hnrnack (Adolph), 7, 10 n., 23, 

35, 49 n., 56 n., 109 n., 159, 

165, 166-168, 204 n., 207 n., 

208 n., 244 

Harris (Dr. Charles), 30, 320 n. 
Harris (Dr. J. Rendel), 122, 229 I 
Headlam (Dr.), 82 n., 86 n., i 

91 n., 230, 287 n. 
Hebrews (Epistle to the), 6, 94- 

97, 133, 164, 292. 309 
Heracleitus (Pseudo-), 262 n. 
Hermas, 198, 200, 228, 242 
Hermes (Trismegistus), 134 
Herodians (the), 25, 26 
Hoffding (Dr. K.), 30 
Holland (Dr. H. 8.). 69, 121 n. 
Hort (Dr.), 86 n., 128 n., 129 n., 

130, 156 n., 180 n., 239, 249, 

254, 291 n. 

Hugel (Baron Fnedrich von), 4 
Huxley (Prof.), 232 n., 249, 318 

Ignatius, 198 

Inge (Dean), 10 n., 99, 120 n. 

Irenaeus, 274 n. 

Isaiah, 14, 15, 17 n.,59, 139, 141 

Jackson (Dr Foakes), 5 n., 14n., 

21 n., 32, 39 n., 44 n., 46 n. 
James (St.), 6, 127-130, 179 n., 

262, 291 n. 
Jerome, 320 
John (St.), 6 n., 40, 68, 71 n., 91, 

106-122, 143 n., 155, 163, 181, 

194, 235, 240, 254, 260, 278, 

288, 292, 312, 315, 318 
John the Baptist (St.), 1 n., 25, 

43, 47, 54, 68, 119, 142, 152, 

180, 258, 288 

John (the Presbyter), 107 n., 124 
Jona (Robbi), 140 
Josephus, 26, 43, 44 D., 70 n., 127 

Jowett (Benjamin), 271 
Jude (St.), 21, 130, 234, 291 n. 
Justin (Mart.), 200, 242 n. 

Kidd(Dr.), 213 n., 230, 242 n. 
Knox ^Capt. H. V.), 271 n. 
Krebs (E), 134 

Lagrange (Pere), 21 n., 32, 140 n. 
Lake (Dr. Kirsopp), 5 n., 14 n., 

21 n., 32, 39, 44 n., 46 n., 47 n., 

169, 172, 316 
Latham (Dr.), 69 
Lebreton (Jules), 10 n., 88 n. 
Leo (Bp.), 216, 293 
Leontius (Byzant.), 230 
Liberty (Stephen), 26 n. 
Lightfoot (Dr.), 82 n., 84 n., 85 n. 
Loisy, 37 
Lotze, 253 

Lowrie (Walter), 37 n. 
Lucian (of Antioch), 204, 211 
Luke (St.), 42, 43, 46, 61, 73-75, 

103, 145 n., 151, 154, 181, 278 

Man ili us, 9 n. 

Marcion, 7, 291 

Mark (St.), 41, 43, 45, 46, 62, 

74, 151, 154, 184, 189 
Matthew (St.), 43, 46, 57, 144, 

149, 151, 152 n., 154, 234, 278 
Maurice (F. D.), 190 
Menzies (Dr. Allan), 83, 84 n., 105 
Meyer (Eduard), 30, 42, 73 n., 

81 n., 100 n., 107 n., 134 
Milton (John), 273 
Mnason, 74 

Moberly (Dr.), 293, 297 
Moorhouse (Dr.), 145 n. 
Morris (William), 111 n. 

Nestorius (Bp.), 212-216, 224 

Origen, 9, 10 n., 54 n., 201, 209, 
243, 244, 293, 320 

Papias, 74 n. 

Parry (Dr.), 86 n., 129 n., 156 n. 

Paul (St.), 6, 8, 11, 24, 40, 55, 
73, 75, 78-94, 98-101, 104, 
105, 114, 144, 155, 162, 167, 



181, 194, 197, 225, 233, 237, i 

239, 262, 268, 273, 278, 288- I 

291, 299, 301-305, 308, 312, i 

315, 318 
Paul (of Samosata), 123, 133, 

164, 202 
Peter (St.), 2, 6, 42, 45, 57,59, 72, ! 

76, 130-132, 175, 234, 262, 291 
Pharisees (the), 25, 26 
Philip (St.), 74, 236, 288 
Philo, 88, 97, 117 
Plato, 4, 320 
Plotinus, 10, 12 
Posidonius, 321 
Prophets (of Israel), 14-25, 138- 


Proverbs (Book of), 91, 122 
Psalms (the), 22, 55 
Psalms of Solomon, 18, 25, 32, i 


Q, 42, 109 n., 166 

Rackham (R. B.), 75, 86 n., 

145 n. 

Raleigh (Walter), 267 
Rashdall (Dr.), 30, 51 n., 89 n., 

101, 201 n., 207 n., 208 n., 

235 n., 245 n., 246, 288 n., 

290 n., 293, 296 n., 303, 304 
Reitzenstein (Richard), 122 n., 


Relton (Dr. H. M.), 230 
Revelation (of St. John the 

Divine), 124-127, 292 
Richmond (Canon), 240 n. 
Robertson (Bp.), 88 n., 20 4 n., 

208 n. 
Robinson (Dr. Armitage), 121 n., 

242 n. 

Romans (Epistle to the), 289 
Rousseau (J. J.), 263 
Ruskin (J.), 140 

Sacred Books of the East, 30 
Sadducees (the), 25, 26 
Salmon (Dr.), 101 
Sanday (Dr.), 51 n., 82, 86 n., 

91 n., 170, 287 n. 
Schweitzer (Alb.), 37, 39, 44 n., 

102, 151, 159, 165, 168 
Scott (Dr. Anderson), 100 
Shakespeare (William), 265-267 
Shelley (P. B.), 116, 263 
Sidgwick (Prof. Henry), 137 n. 
Simkhovitch (Prof. Vladimir), 

21 n., 26 n., 27 n., 49 
Somervill (D. C.). 108 n., Ill n. 
Stanton (Dr.), 30, 100, 107-110, 


Stephen (St.), 77 
Strabo, 93 n. 
Streeter (Dr.), 320 
Swete (Dr.), 126 n., 242 n. 

Tacitus, 160 
Tertullian, 201, 245 
Theodore (of Mopsuetia), 211 
Theodoret, 224 
Tixeront (Pere), 245 n. 
Treherne (Thomas), 12 
Trench, 85 n. 

Victorinus (Afer), 346, 252 n. 

Weiss (Dr. John), 265 n. 
Westcott /Dr.), 85 n., 96 n., 

112 n., 156 n., 256 
Wisdom (Book of), 55, 91, 92, 

116, 122, 126, 180, 309, 313 
Wordsworth (William), 116 

Zahn, 120 n. 
Zealots (the), 26, 27 
Zenobia (Queen of Palmyra), 

Zoroaster, 4, 13 n., 29, 318 

Recent Theological Books 


CHARLES GORE, D.D., Hon. Fellow of Trinity College, Ox- 
ford ; formerly Bishop of Oxford, yth Impression. 'js. 6d. net. 

1 It remains that Dr. Gore is unquestionably the leading figure in the Church 
of England to-day. A study of his work to-day will be of the greatest 
value . . . He helps us to sec things as they really are.' Church Times. 


With Forewords by the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of Lichfield 
and the Warden of Wadham College, Oxford. i$s. net. 

' A vast amount of learning is given most readable expression. Dr. Harris's 
versatility is almost incredible.' Guardian. 


AUTHORS. Edited, with an Introduction, by the Rev. 
C. F. NOLLOTH, M.A. 75. 6d. net. 

' Few books so adequately fulfil their professed design as does this. We 
cannot see how the thing could be better done and they are written by men 
of ample scholarship . . . We feel that no word of recommendation could be 
too strong.' Sunday School Chronicle. 


THEOLOGY. By the Rev. J. H. BEIBITZ. With an 
Introduction by the Rt. Rev. BISHOP GORE, D.D. 6s. net. 

* It is an admirable summary of the arguments in favour of Theism. The 
author knows his subject, writes clearly and with great fairness ... a book 
which will assuredly help many searchers for truth to discover the eternal 
realities for which they are looking.' Church Family Newspaper. 


Recent Theological Books 


BELIEF. By Sir WILLIAM WHITLA, M.U., M.A. 151. net. 


By the Rev. A. C. .HEADLAM, D.D. This volume is an 
attempt to study the life of Christ in relation to Modern 
Criticism and our knowledge of the social, political and 
intellectual surroundings of the time. [Ready Early 1923. 


By the Rev. J. E. SYMES, M.A., sometime Principal of 

University College, Nottingham ; author of ' Broad Church,' 

etc. i8j. net. 

* It is the sanest and most readable introduction to the New Testament that 

has appeared since Dr. Salmon published his lectures. Those who master its 

contents will be abreast of the best conclusions of modern scholarship.' 



Complete in One Volume. With 16 Illustrations. Cheaper 
and Unabridged Edition. 6s. net. Also in 2 Vols. 2&r. net. 

' It is the record of the life-work not of one but of two who laboured as one, 

with a rare unity of soul and mind.' Church Times. 





By the Rev. FRANK PENNY. Vol. 1111835-1860. With 

Illustrations. 2is. net. 

This volume completes the story of the Fast India Company's ecclesiastical 

affairs, and obliges a complete change of opinion as to the ecclesiastical 

policy and action of the Company. 

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED Vol. I, i;th and i8th Centuries. With Illustra- 
tions, los. 6d. net. Vol. II, 1805-1835. With Illustrations. lew. 6d. net. 



DUGHESNE, Monsignor L.. 

De V Academic Franqaise; Hon. D.Litt. Oxford, and Litt.D. Cambridge. 


Foundation to the End of the Fifth Century. Rendered into English 

from the Fourth Edition. 

VOL. I. To End of Third Century. Demy 8vo, I2s. net. 

VOL. II. The Fourth Century. Demy Svo, 155-. net. 

VOL. III. The Fifth Century. Demy Svo, 2is. net. 

ERNLE, Lord (R. E. Prothero). 

THE PSALMS IN HUMAN LIFE. Enlarged Edition. Large 
Crown Svo, 6s. net. New Pocket Edition. 2s. 6d. net. 

FOX, Selina Fitzherbert. M.D., B.S. 

of Prayer 2000 R.C. to A.D. 1920. Arranged for Daily Use, with Index 
of Subjects and Authors. $s. net. 

HARRIS, Rev. Charles. P.P., 

Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Llandaff. 

PRO FIDE. A Defence of Natural and Revealed Religion. A Text- 
book of Modern Apologetics for Students and Others. Second Edition. 

I or. 6d. net. 

HEAPLAM, the Rev. A. G., M.A., P.P., 

Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford. 


REUNION. The Bampton Lectures, 1920. 2nd Edition, with a New 
Preface. 125-. net. 

INGE, the Very Rev. William Ralph. P.P., 

Dean of St. Paul's. 

delivered at Cambridge to Undergraduates in the Lent Term, 1906. 

6s. net. 

STUDIES OF ENGLISH MYSTICS. The St. Margaret's Lectures. 
Fourth Series, 1905. js. 6d. net. 

JULIAN, the Rev. John, P.P., 

Late Vicar of Topcliffe, Prebendary of Fenton, Canon of York. 
A DICTIONARY OF HYMNOLOGY. Setting forth the Origin 
and History of Christian Hymns of all Ages and Nations. Second 
Edition with New Supplement. 325-. net. 

' The student of hymnology will find the work, as it always has been, 
a rare mine of information.' Westminster Gazette. 



MENZIES. the Rev. Allan. P.P., 

Late Professor of Biblical Criticism, University of St. Andrews. 
HISTORY OF RELIGION. A Sketch of Primitive Beliefs and 
Practices, and of the Origin and Character of the Great Systems. Third 
Edition. 6s. net. 


To the end of the Sixth Century, with an account of the Principal Sects 
and Heresies. Edited by the Very Kev. HKNRY WAGE, D.D., and the 
Rev. WM. C. PIERCY. Complete in one Volume. 255. net. 


Combining Modern Research with Ancient Faith. Editor : The Kev. 
WILLIAM C. PiKRCY, M.A In One Volume. Special Features: 
I. A Volume of 1,000 pages. 2. Profusely Illustrated. 3. Special 
attention has been paid to Bibliography. 4. Signed Articles by Leading 
Scholars. 2is. net. 

STURGE, M. Carta, 

Moral Science Tripos (Cambridge). 


New and Cheap Edition (Fourth Impression). 6s. net. 

WESTCOTT, the Right Rev. B. F., P.P., D C.L., 

Late Bishop of Durham. 


Introduction. 12s. net. 

Revised, with a Revised English Version. 2 vols. 2%s. net. 


THE SEVENFOLD GIFTS. Instructions and Prayers for the use of 
Candidates for Confirmation. 3.5-. 6d. net. 

The foregoing books are selected from Mr. Murray's List of Theological 
Literature. This complete List will be sen/, post free, on application to : 

JOHN MURRAY, 50a Albemarle Street, LONPON, W.I 



ALLEN, the Venble. Willoughby G., M.A., 

Archdeacon of Blackburn. 

THE CHRISTIAN HOPE. Addresses, Sermons, and Popular 

Lectures. Crown 8vo, $s. net. 

ARNOLD, Matthew. 

LITERATURE AND DOGMA, An Essay towards a better 

apprehension of the Bible. Crown 8vo, $s. 6d. net. 

GOD AND THE BIBLE. A sequel to "Literature and 

Dogma." Crown 8vo, 3*. 6d. net. 


Crown 8vo, 3^. 6d. net. 


8vo, 3-r. 6d. net. 

BEEGHING, the Very Rev. H. G., M.A., D.Litt., 

Late Dean of Norwich, 


Lectures given in Westminster Abbey. Crown 8vo, 3^. 6d. net. 
THE APOSTLES' CREED. Six Lectures delivered in West- 
minster Abbey. Large Crown 8vo, 3*. 6d. net. 

BENSON, the late Rev. Robert Hugh. 

With Illustrations. Large Crown 8vo, 9-y. net. 



and Critical, with a Revision of the Translation. By Bishops and 

Clergy of the Anglican Church. Edited by F. C. COOK, M.A., 

late Canon of Exeter. 

THE OLD TESTAMENT. 6 vols. Medium 8vo. 

Vol. I, sos. net. Vol. II, 2os. net. Vol. Ill, i6s. net. Vol. 

IV, 24*. net. Vol. V, 2os. net. Vol. VI, 25^. net. 

THE NEW TESTAMENT. 4 vols. Medium 8vo. Vol. I, i8j. 

net. Vol. II, 20s. net. Vol. Ill, 285. net. Vol. IV, 2%s. net. 

THE APOCRYPHA. By various writers. Edited by the Rev. H. 
Wace, D. I )., Dean of Canterbury. 2 vols. Medium 8vo, 50*. net. 
Abridged from the above Work. Edited by JOHN M. FULLER, 
M.A., Vicar of Bexley, and Professor of Ecclesiastical History, 
King's College, London. 6 vols. Crown 8vo, Js. 6d. net each. 
%* Arrangements have been made with the booksellers enabling 
them to offer special terms for the above two works complete. 

BIGKERSTETH, the Right Rev. Edward, D.D., 

Late Bishop of South Tokyo, Japan. 

Divinity Students in Japan. With a Preface by the late Right 
Rev. B. F. WESTCOTT. D.D. Large Crown Svo, 5*. net. 
late Bishop of South Tokyo. With Map and Illustrations. Cheap 
Edition. Cr. Svo, p. 6</. net. Also an Ed., Demy Svo, ios. 6d. net. 

BOYD-GARPENTER, the Right Rev. William, D.D., 

Late Bishop of Ripon. 

LAND, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. With Illus- 
trations. Cheap Edition. Large Crown Svo, 6s. net. 

BROOKE, Rev. Stopford A. 

LL.D., D.D., Principal of Manchester College, Oxford. With 
Portraits. 2 vols. Large Post Svo, 15*. net. 

BURKITT, F. Crawford, 

Lecturer in Palaeography in the University of Cambridge. 
tures, 1904, on the Syriac-speaking Church. With Illustrations. 
Large Crown Svo, 7*. 6d. net. 


A LIVING CHRISTIANITY. Crown Svo, 3*. 6* net. 

CARNEGIE, the Rev. W. H., 

Canon of Westminster. 

Teaching in Birmingham Cathedral. Crown Svo, $s. net. 
6s. net. 

CLARKE, Sir Edward, the Right Hon., P.C. 

THE NEW TESTAMENT. The Authorised Version Cor- 
rected. The Text prepared by Sir Edward Clarke. Demy 8vo, 5 s. net. 
THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL. The Authorised Version 
Amended. The Text prepared by Sir Edward Clarke. Demy 
8vo, 3-r. 6d. net. 

THE BOOK OF PSALMS. The Prayer Book Version 
Corrected. The Text prepared by Sir Edward Clarke. F'cap. 
8vo, 2s. 6d. net. 

CLARKE, the Rev. J. Langton, D.D. 

Comfort from the Holy Scriptures. With an Introduction by the 
Rev. J. R. ILLINGWORTH, D.D. Demy 8vo, 4^. net. Simplified 
Edition, Crown 8vo, 2s. net. 

COHU, the Rev. J. R., M.A. 

Rector of Aston Clinton, Bucks. 


COLLINS, the Right Rev. William Edward, D.D., 

Late Bishop of Gibraltar 

HOURS OF INSIGHT and other Sermons. Crown 8vo, 5*. net. 


CONTENTIO VERITATIS. Essays in Constructive Theology'. 
By Six OXFORD TUTORS : the Rev. H. Rashdall, D.Litt., the 
Very Rev. W. R. Inge, the Rev. H. L. Wild, the Rev. C. F. 
Burney, the Rev. W. C. Allen, the Rev. A. J. Carlyle. A Re- 
vised Edition. Demy 8vo, 6s. net. 

CUNNINGHAM, the Venble. W., D.D., F.B.A., 

Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Archdeacon of Ely. 
Lowell Lectures delivered at Boston, Mass., 1914. Demy 8vo,6j. net. 

Remarks Occasioned by the Report of the Archbishops' Com- 
mittee on Church Finance. Crown 8vo, 3.5-. 6d. net. 

DANNATT, William, 

Of Great Waltham. 

THE FAITH OF A FARMER. Extracts from his Diary, 
edited, with an Introduction, by J. G. MONTMORENCY, M.A., 
LL.B. Crown 8vo, $s. net. 

DEARMER, the Rev. Percy, D.D. 

PATRIOTISM AND FELLOWSHIP. Crown 8vo, *s. 6d. net. 

A Letter to a Layman. In Paper Covers. Demy 8vo, is. net. 
DIGBY, Mother Mabel. 

MOTHER MABEL DIGBY, 1835-1911, Superior General of 
the Society of the Sacred Heart. By ANNE POLLEN. With a 
Preface by Cardinal BOURNE. Fourth Impression. With Illustra- 
tions. Demy 8vo, 161. tiet. 

DUCHESNE, Monsignor L., 

De TAcademie Franqaise ; Hon. D.Litt. Oxford, and Litt.D. 

Foundation to the End of the Fifth Century. Rendered into 
English from the Fourth Edition. 

VOL. I. To End of Third Century. Demy 8vo, its. net. 
VOL. II. Demy 8vo, 12s. net. 

ERNLE, Lord. 

THE PSALMS IN HUMAN LIFE. Enlarged Edition. 
Large Crown 8vo, 6s. net. New Pocket Edition. 2s. 6d. net. 

EYRE, Douglas Edited by, 

Of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister-at-Law 

vised Edition of " Essays in Aid of the Reform of the Church." 
Crown 8vo, 51. net. 

FAWKES, Rev. Alfred, M.A., 

I'icar of Ashby St. Ledgers. 

STUDIES IN MODERNISM. Demy 8vo, los. 6d. net. 

THE THINGS THAT ARE C/ESAR'S. Thoughts on Church 

Reform. In Paper Covers. Demy 8vo, is. net. 


by the BISHOP OF HEREFORD. In Paper Covers. Demy 8vo, i s. net. 

FLYNN, the Rev. John Stephen, M.A., 

Hon. Canon of Truro 

Demy 8vo, 12^. net. 

FOX, Selina Fitzherbert, M.D., B.S. 

Centuries of Prayer 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1920. Arranged for Daily 
Use, with Index of Subjects and Authors. F'cap 8vo, $s. net. 

FRERE, the Rev. W. H., D.D., 

Of the Community of the Resurrection. 

ENGLISH CHURCH WAYS. Described to Russian Friends 
in Four Lectures delivered at St. Petersburg in March 1914. 
Crown 8vo, $s. net. 


Contribution towards the Revision of the Book of Common 
Prayer. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 


Canon of Ely 

THE LETTER AND THE SPIRIT. A Reply to the Bishop of 
Ely's Criticisms on " The Faith of a Modern Churchman." 
Crown 8vo, $s. net. 

GORE, the Right Rev. Charles, D.D., D.C.L., LL.D., 

Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford ; formerly Bishop of 

THE BODY OF CHRIST. An Inquiry into the Institution 
and Doctrine of the Holy Communion. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 

ORDERS AND UNITY. The case for 'the episcopate con- 
sidered as a necessary and divinely given link of continuity and 
cohesion in the Church universal. 5 Crown 8vo, $s. net. 


Crown 8vo, $s. net. 

livered in the Cathedral of St. Asaph. Crown 8vo, 55. net. 

Lectures for 1891. Large Crown 8vo, $s. net. 


THE INCARNATION. Large Crown 8vo, 5*. net. 

IDEA OF SIN. Two Sermons preached before the University 
of Oxford. Large Crown 8vo, paper covers, 6d. net. 

SPIRITUAL EFFICIENCY. The Primary Charge delivered 
at his Visitation to the Clergy and Churchwardens of his Diocese 
of Birmingham, October 1904. Demy 8vo, paper covers, u. net. 
THE QUESTION OF DIVORCE. Crown 8vo, is. net 

Simple Expositions of Portions of the New Testament 
THE EPISTLES OF ST. JOHN. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 

Crown 8vo, 51. net each 

THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Paper covers, is. 6d. net. 

GORE, the Right Rev. Charles Edited by. 

LUX MUNDI. A Series of Studies in the Religion of the 
Incarnation. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 

GREEN, the Rev. E. Tyrrell, 

St. David's College, Lampeter. 

THE EUCHARIST. Devotional Addresses on its Chief Aspects. 

Crown 8vo, 5-r. net. 

HARDWIGH, the Rev. J. M., M.A., and 

Assistant Master at Rugby School. 

COSTLEY-WHITE, the Rev. H., M.A., 

Headmaster of Liverpool College. 


8vo, y. 6d. each Volume. 

HARRIS, Rev. Charles, D.D., 

Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Llandaff. 
PRO FIDE. A Defence of Natural and Revealed Religion. A 
Textbook of Modern Apologetics for Students and Others. 
Second Edition. Large Crown 8vo, los. 6af. net. 

HEADLAM, the Rev. A. C., M.A., D.D., 

Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Oxford. 


REUNION. The Bampton Lectures, 1920. 2nd Edition, with a 

New Preface. Demy 8vo, 12s. net. 


Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 

ST. PAUL AND CHRISTIANITY. Crown 8vo, 6s. net. 


the Moorhouse Lectures for 1914, delivered in St. Paul's Cathedral, 

Melbourne. Large Crown Svo, 6s. net. 


Crown Svo, 2s. 6d. net. 

230.3 97530 


Gore, Charles 

230.3 97530 


Gore, Charles 

Belief in Christ